Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
One for my master,
One for my dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
As much as we love TexMex at our house, one thing I’d never eaten, much less made, was Black Bean Soup. So a couple of weeks ago, wanting to try something new for our weekly meatless supper meal, I decided to give Black Bean Soup try.
The small, shiny black turtle bean is especially popular in Latin American cuisine, though it can also be found in Cajun and Creole cuisines of south Louisiana. It is often called simply the black bean (frijol negro, zaragoza, poroto negro, caraota o habichuela negra in Spanish, and feijão preto in Portuguese), although this can cause confusion with other black beans.
The black turtle bean has a dense, meaty texture, which makes it popular in vegetarian dishes, such as the Mexican-American black bean burrito. It is a very popular bean in various regions of Brazil, and is used in the national dish, feijoada. It is also a main ingredient of Moros y Cristianos in Cuba, is a must-have in the typical gallo pinto of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, is a fundamental part of pabellón criollo in Venezuela, and is served in almost all of Latin America, as well as many Hispanic enclaves in the United States. In the Dominican Republic Cuisine, is also used for a variation of the Moros y Cristianos simply called Moro de Habichuelas Negras. The black turtle bean is also popular as a soup ingredient. In Cuba, black bean soup is a traditional dish, usually served with white rice.
It is also common to keep the boiled water of these beans (which acquires a black coloring) and consume it as a soup with other ingredients for seasoning (known as sopa negra, black soup), as a broth (caldo de frijol, bean broth) or to season or color other dishes (aforementioned gallo pinto, for example).
I did some Googling of recipes to give me some ideas and inspiration — and boy oh boy, did this soup turn out YUMMY! Hubby absolutely loves it and told me the recipe is definitely a keeper. 🙂
I used vegetable bouillon and water, but one could make it with chicken stock/broth or chicken bouillon, if you prefer.
I used tinned black beans for convenience, but one could certainly use dried black beans — soak them and cook them as per package directions. (NOTE: When cooking beans, I usually use the “quick soak” method — I sort and rinse the beans, cover with water, bring to a boil, let them boil for one minute. Cover, remove from heat, and let set an hour. I then drain the water — this helps reduce the gas-causing impact of beans — and cook in fresh liquid.)
Want to CrockPot it? This will do well in a slow cooker, I think — you may want to reduce the amount of liquid a bit, but I would imagine it will cook up in 6 – 8 hours on low or 3 – 4 hour on high. Since I’ve not yet made it in a CrockPot, I would suggest you allow yourself some extra cooking time the first time you make it so you can gauge how long it will take — if it gets done more quickly than you anticipated, you can easily keep it warm until you’re ready to eat.
We rounded this out with quesadillas (the Mexican answer to a grilled cheese sandwich!) and sliced avocado. Fresh cilantro is optional, but it certainly does add something to the flavor — and if we hadn’t had quesadillas along with the soup, then I would likely have also topped each serving with a bit of grated cheese.
This smells and tastes so yummy, you’ll be dancing in your kitchen as you sip your Corona Light or margarita 🙂 (Go on, give it a listen — you know you want to! This is one of my favorite renditions of this song.)
Black Bean Soup (6 to 8 servings)
- 1/2 large (or 1 small) onion, diced (or more or less to taste)
- 2 carrots, scraped and sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- Minced garlic to taste
- 3 cans (14 – 15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained (this helps reduce the gas-causing properties of the beans)
- 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, UNDRAINED (I recommend Rotel; one of the cans I used was seasoned with cilantro and lime)
- 1/2 package of frozen corn with chopped red and green peppers (sometimes referred to as “Fiesta corn” or “chuck wagon corn”) OR 1 can of corn, drained
- 1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon
- 3 to 4 cups water
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce (I used a seasoned Mexican sauce called “El Pato”)
- Splash of Worcestershire (Vegetarians, leave out)
- Splash of vinegar (trust me, it adds something)
- Seasonings to taste (we like things spicy): Chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper flakes
- Fresh cilantro (optional, but it adds something)
- Heat a small amount (tablespoon or less) of oil (canola or olive) in a large non-stick Dutch oven or soup pot. Sauté onion, celery, and carrot for 5 to 10 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Add in tomatoes, beans, water, bouillon, and tomato sauce. Stir in a splash of Worcestershire (if using), splash of vinegar, and seasonings to taste.
- Bring to a boil. Stir in corn. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. (It’s soup; you’re just wanting it to get all heated through and for the flavors to meld.)
- If desired, garnish each individual serving with some fresh cilantro (it’s YUMMY!). If you wish, you could also garnish each serving with some reduced-fat grated cheese, sliced jalapeños, even a dollop of (reduced fat) sour cream or Greek yogurt or some sliced or diced avocado.
- Refrigerate leftovers.