Cuban Black Bean Soup
- Yield servings
- 1 pound dried black beans (or used canned beans to speed up the recipe)
- 6 cups cold water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 pound white onion, chopped finely
- 1 to 2 pound green bell pepper, seeded and diced finely
- 1 to 2 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced finely, or 1 cup diced canned tomatoes with juice
- 1 to 2 cup red wine or vegetable broth
- 1 1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional but yummy)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Sort through the beans and remove any random particles or broken beans and place in a large bowl. Add cold, fresh water to cover by 4 inches and soak for 8 hours or overnight. After the beans have doubled in size, drain, rinse briefly, and place in a 3-quart soup pot. Add the 6 cups of fresh, cold water, bay leaves, and kosher salt. Partially cover and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Skim off and discard any foam. Lower the heat to low, stir, and cover. Stirring occasionally, cook for 2-21/2 hours, or until the beans are very tender. You should have about 5 cups of liquid when all is said and done, but feel free to add a little more water or even vegetable broth if necessary (or if you like a thinner soup).
- While beans are cooking, prepare the sofrito. In a large skillet, combine the olive oil and garlic and bring to a sizzle over medium heat, cooking the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the chopped onion, green bell pepper, and tomato. Stirring frequently, cook until the mixture is very soft and liquid has mostly evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar, oregano, and cumin, and simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- When the beans are completely tender, stir in the cooked sofrito, making sure to scrape every bit into the pot. Add the liquid smoke, stir, and partially cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, until the soup has slightly reduced, then remove the bay leaves and discard. If desired, ladle 2 cups of soup into a blender jar, puree until smooth, and stir back into the soup to create a thicker, smoother consistency. Likewise, you can use your immersion blender directly in the soup and puree as desired. Season the soup with more red wine vinegar if desired and salt and pepper to taste.
From Viva Vegan: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers by Terry Hope Romero, Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.