There was a time in my life when I wasn’t a super fan of black beans.
I don’t know what I was thinking. In my defense, it was during my headstrong, misguided youth days…I really don’t think we should be held accountable for once being teens. It’s a confusing time, okay? and, now, we know better…right?
Anyway, memories of misguided youth aside, I am a big fan of black beans now and black bean soup is one of my current favorites. Starting with dried beans takes some time, so make this on a weekend. The pot of beans simmers for hours with a few, lightly charred aromatics and makes your house smell like savory magic. Such a humble bean packs SO MUCH FLAVOR. It’s just all about dried-bean-alchemy over here.
Black Bean Soup
I start with dried beans here, I think it really is worth the effort, but I bet you could adapt this with canned beans and have this soup in a fraction of the time. Dried beans can be fickle and depending on how old they are, they can take as little as 2 hours, up to 6 or more to become tender. If you want to go the OG route, and you forget to pre-soak your legumes the night before (I often do), just start an hour earlier and put your beans in a pot, boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, turn off that heat, and let it sit for an hour. Viola! Pre-soaked beans. Boom. This recipe is fine with languishing on the stove for hours, and reheats wonderfully as well.
8 ounces dried black beans
water to cover
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed (leave some in for some heat), and roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
kosher salt, to taste
1-2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock, to thin.
Garnishes: Avocado, cheese, sour cream, onions, tomatoes, radishes, cilantro, and crisp tortillas are all favorites.
The night before, place the beans in a bowl and cover with a few inches of water. In the morning drain the beans and set aside.
In the pot you would like to cook the soup in, heat olive oil over high heat, once the oil begins to shimmer, add the jalapeño, onion, and shallot, cook over high heat until some of the edges get dark brown and the vegetables begin to soften. Reduce the heat, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring so as not to burn the garlic. Add the beans and enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Add salt to taste, and continue to simmer 1-3 more hours, checking water level (don’t let it boil off completely)–until beans are very tender.
Remove from heat and using an immersion blender (or a regular blender) blend the soup, adding stock to thin to desired consistency. Reheat to a simmer before serving. Garnish as desired.