Sunday, February 26, 2012

spicy black bean soup

I can't wait until I regularly cook for someone other than myself. Usually I don't mind cooking for just myself but after making this soup today, I wanted to call all my friends over for dinner. Which by the way, might not be enough people to finish all the soup I had. If I ate all this soup, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to eat another black bean for years. So I threw a container or two or three in the freezer. I'm not much of a freezer person because I never think it tastes as good as the first time around but this soup is an exception. It freezes perfectly, just pour it into a freezer bag and pull it out when you need a quick meal.  

Ok and I have to say it is hard to make black bean soup look as tasty as it really is. Especially when it's pureed. I texted my boyfriend a picture of the soup and his response was something along the lines of 'where are the black beans?' I know you can't see them but they are there, just pureed, ok! This soup is super healthy and surprisingly leaves me feeling happy and satisfied. The best part about this low-cal, high fiber soup is you can afford to throw on some less healthy toppings. I can easily justify topping it with an entire avocado (versus my usual half) or as shown in the picture, a pile of queso fresco. 

Oh and did I mention I gave up carbs for Lent? Really just flour and potatoes. I don't like to talk about it because it just reminds me of what I can't eat but I'm happily accepting no carb recipe suggestions.

Spicy Black Bean Soup
makes 6 servings

3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/2 tsp salt
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
2 ham hock slices (see note below)
1 15 oz. can of diced tomato
2 15 oz. cans of black beans
4 cups chicken broth
juice from 1 lime
queso fresco
jalapenos, sliced

Heat oil over medium-high heat until simmering. Add in onions, carrot, bell pepper, jalapeno and salt. Cook until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, cayenne pepper and cumin. Stir constantly until vegetables become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in bay leaves, ham hock slices, beans, chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, squeeze in juice of 1 lime and puree soup to desired thickness. I used a hand blender to puree the soup but you could easily use a blender. Serve with cilantro, jalapeno slices, and queso fresco.

Note: You can usually find ham hock slices in the meat section of the grocery store, not refrigerated. I use ham hock in soups to add a bit of a smoky, salty flavor. If you can't find a ham hock, you could substitute smoked bacon, smoked sausage, smoked ham or just leave it out completely and add a little extra salt.

Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated


  1. What is a ham hock slice?

    1. good question, I added a little note below the recipe instructions to clarify. You should be able to find it at your local grocery store in the meat aisle!

  2. What a tasty sounding black bean soup!

  3. Sounds delicious! I've never made black bean soup before but have always wanted to!

  4. This sounds scrumptious, Shannon. I love black bean soup!

  5. Replies
    1. thanks P, did you ever make the white bean chicken chili??

  6. I made this last night and it was incredible! I doubled the jalapeno and cayenne because I am insane and it is super spicy and delicious - thanks!

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