Cuban Black Bean Soup

My wife’s side of the family enjoys a spiral cut ham for their Christmas dinner. I love a good Christmas ham, because like a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. After I’ve stuffed myself with two days of ham sandwiches and meaningless mid week college bowl games my palate is ready for something new. This recipe is a great change up from most of the traditional holiday fare and makes great use of the ham bone and excess ham trimmings.

I will also throw in a not so-humble brag that this past year I apple-wood smoked our ham in our Big Green Egg. It brought this recipe to the next level!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried black beans (or 4 cans 14 oz cans)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ham bone or ham hock
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup distilled white or apple cider vinegar
  • Cooked rice for serving (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional garnish)
  • Chopped raw onion (optional garnish)
  • Chopped red pepper (optional garnish)

Preparation

  1. Rinse canned beans and place in a heavy pot or dutch oven (If you are using dried beans, the night before rinse with cold water and pick out an rocks or broken beans. Cover in a heavy pot or dutch oven with enough cold water to cover the beans and soak over night. Drain and return to the pot the next morning )
  2. Add enough water to cover the beans by an inch
  3. Add onion, pepper, garlic, cumin, bay leaf, ham and ham bone, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Stir and bring to a boil and skim off any white foam.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cover.
  5. Simmer until beans are creamy, not watery 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally so you don’t burn onto the bottom of your pot. Check after 2 hours, if dry, add another cup of water.You want to cook the beans down so about half of them break apart and create a smooth base. The final consistency should be velvety and thick and the soup should coat the back of your spoon.
  6. 15 minutes before serving, stir in the vinegar and simmer uncovered. Pull the bay leaf and ham bone out of the pot. The meat should fall off the bone easily with the touch of the spoon.
  7. Serve over rice with sour cream, onion and red pepper.
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