Inspired by my friend Devaki at “Weave a Thousand Flavors” who recently posted about Mark Miller’s Black Bean Soup, I decided to dust off this old favorite of mine to cook a few weekends ago. Active time in cooking this dish is quite low, but you must plan in advance because the black beans require soaking overnight before cooking, and about 2 hours to cook once in the pot. I like using chorizo or andouille sausages in this soup as I feel they are more in keeping with the southwest flavors here, but it would also be delicious with hot italians, some merguez (spicy lamb), or even a more delicate duck sausage if you have access to any.
I like this soup a little on the “creamy” side, so just before service, I give it a quick blast with a stick blender to break up some of the beans, if you prefer a “cleaner” soup, you can certainly skip this step. Whatever you do, don’t skip the dollop of the lime-cilantro sour cream on top, it makes all the difference. If you are counting fat grams and calories, substitute some greek style yogurt for the sour cream, but don’t eliminate the garnish entirely, the brightness of the cilantro and citrus really elevates the dish.
- 1 16 ounce package (about 2 1/2 cups) dried black beans
- 6 bacon slices, chopped
- 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
- 3/4 cup finely chopped leeks
- 10 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- 2 sausages, cut into medallions and browned before adding to soup
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 cup (packed) chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup (packed) chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 jalapeño chili, minced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- Additional chopped fresh cilantro
- Additional chopped tomato
- Place beans in large bowl. Add enough water to cover by 3 inches. Let stand overnight. Drain well.
- Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until brown but still soft, about 4 minutes. Add celery, onion, carrots and leeks and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add beans, chicken broth, tomato, 1/2 cup cilantro, parsley, garlic, jalapeño, vinegar, cumin and coriander. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer soup until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, slice the sausages and brown both sides of each medallion in some olive oil until fully cooked, reserve.
- At this point you can hit the soup with a quick blast of a stick blender to break-up some of the beans for a creamier soup (alternatively, you can place a couple cups of soup in a blender and puree, then return it to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add reserved sausage slices. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
- Mix sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice and 1/2 cup cilantro in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Place dollop of sour cream mixture atop soup. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro and chopped tomato.