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Black Bean Soup

A hearty winter soup made with Rancho Gordo Heirloom beans in three steps

Course: Main Course
Step 1 - Soaking the beans
  • 1 16 oz. pkg Rancho Gordo Ayocote Negro/Black Beans You could use any black bean. Put the beans in a large bowl or pot. Cover with cold water. The beans should have at least 4" of extra water above them. They will expand overnight. Leave on the counter but in a cool spot.
Step 2 - Roasting the vegetables
  • 2 Poblano Peppers
  • 4 Tomatillos
  • 2 heads of garlic cut in half
  • 1 small red onion cut in quarters, skin left on
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil Preheat oven to 350°F. Take a half sheet pan, line with parchment paper. Lay the vegetabales down, leaving a little space. Drizzle all with olive oil and put in the oven. Roast for about 25 minutes, turning the Poblano peppers over after 15 of those minutes. Let cool. After about 10 minutes, remove the cloves of garlic from their skins. Remove husks from tomatillos, seeds from both peppers and skins from onion. Place all in a food processor with 1/2 cup of water and blend till smooth.
Making the soup
  • 3 Tbsp duck fat, lard or olive oil I prefer duck fat for the flavor
  • 2 small onions, peeled and cut into a small dice
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro stems, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 large tomatoes, skin removed and chopped skins can be removed by blanching tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp cilantro chopped more for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp fresh or dried oregano if fresh, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Sherry vinegar white or champagne will do. You want the acidity. Do not use balsamic.
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds toasted then ground in mortal and pestle
  • 7 cups cold water
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
Recipe Notes

Place the stock pot over medium heat, add the duck fat.  When it begins to sizzle, add the onions, cilantro stems and carrots.  Turn down the heat and put a lid on.  You want to have the onions translucent.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Give a stir.  Add the tomato paste.  Cook this to develop flavor.  When it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan (about 5-6 minutes), add in the fresh oregano, cumin and chopped tomatoes.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes.  Add the vinegar and stir.  If at any time you feel the pot is too hot, turn down the heat. 

Add the beans and 7 cups of water.  You could also use 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken stock if you prefer more flavor but I find the soup is delicious with just water.  The soup actually lasts longer in your fridge without the chicken stock.  A lot of chicken stock has a high sodium content and salt breaks down food faster.  Bring the soup to a boil and then turn to a simmer.  It will need to cook about 3 hours depending how you like your beans. I do not like mine to have a bite; I prefer them soft.  Stir the beans every 15 minutes so they do not stick to the bottom.  After 2 hours check the beans.  My beans were larger black beans so they needed a little longer.  Every bean is different.  

When the beans are cooked, add the roasted vegetables that you blended and fresh chopped cilantro.   Give a stir and let cook for about 5 minutes.  You can either take out half of the soup, blend in the food processor and add back or I like to use a blending wand in the pot.  Blend the soup in various spots for about a 3-4 minutes.  (Remember you are dealing with a hot liquid so be careful)  You could also let the soup rest for about 30 minutes before blending.  Blending part of the soup creates a more creamy texture and allows you till still see some of the beans.  If you think the soup needs more water, add 1/4 cup at a time till you have the consistency you desire.  Taste for seasoning. 

GARNISH NOTES:  1 avocado, skin and seed removed and cut into cubes.  Squeeze lime juice over to prevent browning; lime wedges for garnish; sour cream, or I used Labneh; chopped cilantro; blue tortilla chips (something a little different form the normal yellow ones.  They even make chips from sweet potatoes.) 

I like to put the lime wedges, sour cream, tortilla chips and fresh cilantro in small bowls and set on the table.  This allows the guests to add to their own soup.  The soup is even better a few days afterward.  I love duck fat and it is ready available in liquid form in grocery stores in glass jars.  Once opened, you must refrigerate and the it becomes solid.  It is easy to scoop out and use in a recipe.  I have also seen it in the frozen section in some specialty stores.  I use it when I sauté potatoes or when I roast a chicken and use it in place of olive oil or butter.