Emily and I talk about food a lot. We are always trying both new and old recipes and sharing what we’re cooking. Which is both good (very inspirational) and bad (the distance between Georgia and Texas gets in our way when we would like to pass food back and forth!) Recently Emily made a black bean dip which led to a conversation around black bean soup – something I hadn’t made in years.
Soup made from beans has long been a rural staple. My Mom as did many, used beans on their menu to stretch a dollar. Black beans have such a rich almost smoky quality making them perfect as a side dish or puréed into a dip and they’re bold enough as the star component in a wonderful soup. But as with any dried bean, preplanning is required before you can enjoy their goodness. But not so with this soup.
The recipe for this soup is a variation from one found in a favorite cookbook of mine – Soups and Stews from Food & Wine. Originally published in 1994 this book has spent its fair share of time in my kitchen through the years. This quick version of black bean soup uses canned black beans instead of dried cutting the prep and cook time down dramatically. It has an incredibly well-rounded flavor with additional notes of savory coming from onions and garlic, a burst of sweetness from corn and a background of spice from cumin. Plus there are bits of ham to satisfy those with a hearty appetite. The soup comes together with a depth that you would expect from one that has simmered hours on the stove.
With a dollop of sour cream and a bit of fresh cilantro you’re only 30 minutes from enjoying this wonderful soup!
Black Bean Soup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic, about 2 garlic cloves
10 ounces ham, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
7 cans black beans, drained and rinsed, 15-ounces each – about 10 cups, divided
1 package frozen corn, 10-ounces
6-7 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Sour cream and fresh cilantro for garnish
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are somewhat translucent – about 7-10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and the ham and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
Stir in the cumin, the kosher salt and the black pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add 5 cups of the black beans, the corn, 4 cups of the chicken stock and the Worcestershire sauce.
Place the remaining 5 cups of black beans along with 2 cups of the chicken stock in a blender.
Purée on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Stir the puréed beans into the soup and continue cooking until it’s heated through. Add the additional cup of chicken stock if you like a thinner base for the soup.
Top with sour cream and fresh cilantro!