Yucatan black bean soup
Cooking with beans in Mexico is a different experience than cooking beans at home. Even the dry beans you buy at the local Mexican supermarket are more fresh and cook in no time. I still soak them in water for a few hours but this is only because old habits die hard.
We have had a few bowls of black bean soup throughout the Yucatan over the last few years and they are quite delicious. The soups may not be completely vegetarian when you order it at a restaurants but here is a simple to make and flavourful vegetarian version of the soup.
In Mexico I buy prepared fresh salsas that are simply delicious and use them in soups and other dishes. You can make your own salsa for this soup or buy a salsa that you like at the grocery store. It will be delicious either way.
You can garnish the soup with different things: avocado cubes, red onion, chopped tomato, crushed tortilla chips, salsa, queso fresco, crema etc.
2 cups black beans
3 tablespoons corn or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
8 cups water or stock
2 sprigs fresh epazote or a tablespoon dried
1 small can fire roasted tomatoes
A handful flat leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 cup salsa, extra for serving
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup crema or sour cream
Garnishes suggestions: queso fresco, avocado, tortilla chips, diced tomatoes, cilantro, special salsa (see salsa with chile arbol below).
Soak beans overnight in plenty of water. To keep the soup black use some of the soaking water to cook the beans.
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook until translucent.
Add garlic and and jalapeño and cook until fragrant.
Add the carrot and cumin cook for a few minutes so soften.
Add the beans and about 8 cups water or a combination of water and stock or bullion cube.
Add the epazote and tomatoes.
Bring the soup to a boil, lower heat and let cook at a steady simmer until the beans are soft. If necessary, add more water or stock to keep the beans submerged in liquid. Depending on their freshness the beans would absorb a different amount of water so you will need to adjust.
When the soup is almost ready add 1 cup of tomato salsa and a handful of chopped parsley and stir it in.
When the beans are fully cooked remove from the heat and partially puree the soup with an immersion blender. Don’t make it smooth though, a little texture is good in this soup.
To serve ladle the soup into bowls, swirl in additional salsa, add cream and a few cilantro leaves.
Arbol chile salsa
4 arbol chiles (these are dried poblano peppers)
1 small onion, cut in quarters
3 garlic cloves
Work with kitchen gloves and don’t touch your face while working with the peppers.
Place the peppers on a hot flat griddle and soften them for 3-4 minutes turning them with tongs so allsides soften.
Remove seeds and vein carefully or you could leaved them in for a spicy salsa.
Place the softened chiles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let soak 10 minutes.
On the same griddle roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic until charred and blackened in spots.
Drain the chiles reserving the liquid.
Place the chiles, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a blender, add a little of the soaking liquid from the chiles just enough so the mixture blends easily.
Taste and add salt.