Favorite Black Bean Soup

hearty black bean soup

Let me start out by saying that this is not a vegetarian black bean soup.  There are a lot of wonderful vegetarian black bean soup recipes out there, but this is not one of them.  This soup is rich, intense, and full of meaty flavor. So full of flavor, in fact, that it really needs no adornment. I top most black bean soups with a sprinkle of feta, a wedge of lime, a dollop or sour cream, a drizzle of chili oil, or a handful of red onion. But with this soup, even a sprig of parsley is really overkill. 

The key to building rich and meaty flavor is using both the capocollo and the beef stock.  If you don’t have capocollo, which is cured pork shoulder or neck, proscuitto will work as well.  Really good beef stock is essential here.  Actually, I kind of think it’s always essential.  The stuff from a can is pretty much salty water – better to use water.  But home made stock is not always an option.  A number of local markets in my area sell house made stock, which is wonderful.  It’s usually found in the freezer area and makes all the difference in the world when you don’t have time to make a batch of your own.  In a pinch, high quality soup base works too (I’ve used Penzeys with good results).

beans

As for the beans, canned or dried – both work great.  In terms of taste, and even texture, I think the difference between canned beans and cooked dried beans is minimal.  But dried beans are incredibly economical, and also have much less sodium than the canned varieties, so I like to cook up a big batch and use them to make hearty soups, main-dish salads, flavorful dips and even filled omelets.   To cook most kinds of dried beans, rise and then soak in water overnight.  Then drain, add new water, and boil until tender.  The beans will keep for a few days, even up to a week, in the fridge.  My friend Julie even cooks and then freezes batches of beans, but I have to admit that I have yet to try freezing, although it does sound wonderfully convenient.

All of that is to say that this can be a great, quick, weeknight meal.  A few cans of beans and a bit of gourmet store-bought stock and you have dinner on the table.  Or, you can take your time.  Cook up a big batch of black beans, make your own stock from scratch.  Either way, the results will be fantastically tasty!  And this soup reheats well – that is, if you have any leftover.

easy rich black bean soup

Black Bean Soup

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 ounces capocollo, chopped

1 cup tomato puree

4 cups cooked (or canned and rinsed) black beans

5 cups beef stock

salt

freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium sized pot. Add the onion and carrot and saute over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the pepper, garlic and capocollo and continue to cook, stirring, until the capocollo starts to brown, about 10 minutes more. Add the tomato puree and reduce the heat to medium low.  Stir in the beans and the stock.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Transfer two cups of the soup to a food processor and puree.  Return the puree to the soup pot and stir well to combine.  If you like your soup smoother, puree more than two cups. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

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Published in: on January 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mmmm….I can just taste that rich flavor! I like to cook and freeze batches of dried beans, too. So much more economical and so much less sodium. Win-win. 🙂

  2. I love black bean soup! Need to look and see if I can find some here; incidentally, I asked my cousin what she wanted from Texas and she said ” some pinto beans”. Never heard of that capocollo will look into it as well.

  3. I’ve never heard of capocollo either. I’ll have to see if my local market sells it. They sell the Boars Head variety of cured meats so I could be in luck. Your soup souns delicious for a cold, winter night.

  4. Hooray for you!!! I just saw that you won the Fage trip to Greece!!!!

    PS…lovely soup~

  5. Looks delicious! Great combination of ingredients!

  6. I like vegetarian black bean soups, but sometimes a little meat for added flavor just makes it more hearty! Sounds delicious!

  7. The soup looks really flavourful!

  8. How can you go wrong with such a wonderful comforting soup! I love that you used dried breans – so right about the sodium content 🙂 Delish in every way and vegetarians can simply use veggie stock – perfect!

    chow:) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  9. What a hearty delicious meal! One day, if it ever gets really cold around here…I might have to give it a go!

  10. Hi DARLING!!! You WON the year’s worth of Sargento cheese coupons. Email me your mailing address and enjoy!!!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  11. I love black bean soup!! But I have never made it myself. Trying this soon for sure!!


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