I must admit, I’m not much of a connoisseur of the “musical fruit”. This probably has a lot to do with childhood scars of culinary abuse. I have memories of a 50-pound burlap bag full of pinto beans in the pantry. My mother would simmer them for hours with a smoked ham hock in a very large pot. They smelled good while they were cooking, but I knew that we would be eating bowls of beans for the next few days until that large pot of beans was gone. Don’t even get me started on lima beans. My apparently exaggerated memory of how often we ate beans has become somewhat of a joke during family gatherings.

While I don’t actively avoid beans anymore, the only ones that I keep stocked in my house are black beans. I absolutely love Cuban black beans over rice and then I discovered black bean soup. It’s so delicious, satisfying and easy to make.

I experimented with a few different ways to make black bean soup before I settled on my favorite. I like a little smoky flavor so I add chipotle in adobados sauce as well as crispy bacon for saltiness and texture. I also like my soup on the smooth side. I’ve had it chunkier and I feel the flavors blend together better when it’s more of a puréed soup.

It is the perfect soup as the weather gets colder. It warms you from its temperature as well as the little spicy kick from the chipotle, and it’s hearty enough to stay with you but not weigh you down. You can also skip the bacon and it makes a great vegetarian meal. But seriously, don’t skip the bacon.

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Black Bean Soup

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 10m
  • Serves: 4

What's in it:

  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 chipotle chiles
  • 6 strips of bacon, sliced
  • 4 cans of black beans
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • Queso Fresco
  • Crema Mexicana (or sour cream)

How to make it:

  1. Fry bacon until crispy, remove from pan to plate lined with paper towels to drain fat. Empty most of bacon grease from pan, leaving just enough to sauté onions and garlic over medium heat until onions are transparent (reserve a quarter-cup of onion for garnish). Drain liquid from cans of black beans but do not rinse. Add black beans, half a bunch of cilantro leaves, half of sautéed garlic & onions, chicken stock and chipotle to a blender or large food processor and blend until somewhat smooth.
  2. Combine bacon, remaining sautéed onions and black bean puree in a pot and slowly heat up over medium-low heat. Do not boil.
  3. After dishing out, top with Crema Mexicana and queso fresco and garnish with diced onion and cilantro.