The inspiration for this recipe was one that appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine on January 4, 1987. The recipe looked so good that by the time I made it to the grocery store, all the black beans had been sold out!
1/2 pound smoked slab bacon with rind
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
1 1/2 cups finely diced carrots
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
4 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
3 tablespoons tomato paste
16 cups rich chicken broth, preferably homemade and concentrated, or canned broth may be substituted
1 pound black turtle beans or other black beans, about 3 cups (soaked and drained)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste, if desired
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
Salsa for garnish (recipe follows today)
Sour cream for garnish
To soak beans quickly, cover them with generous amount of water, cover pot, bring water to boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove cover and allow beans to sit in the liquid for one hour. Drain.
Slice off and reserve the rind of the bacon. Cut the bacon into quarter-inch cubes. There should be about one and one-half cups.
Put the bacon cubes and the rind into a heavy kettle or casserole and cook, stirring often, until rendered of fat. When ready, the bacon cubes should be well-browned and crisp.
Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, three tablespoons of the cumin, black pepper and oregano. Stir to blend and cover the kettle or casserole closely. Cook about five minutes over moderately low heat. Do not allow the mixture to burn.
Add the tomato paste and stir briefly. Add the chicken broth and bring to the boil.
Add the soaked beans to the soup. Cook, uncovered, over relatively high heat about two and one-half hours, skimming the surface occasionally to remove foam, scum and fat as it rises to the top. The soup is ready when the beans are soft and some of them have disintegrated because of the cooking heat and stirring.
Stir in the lime juice, honey, cayenne pepper, salt, coriander leaves and remaining cumin. Remove and discard the bacon rind and bay leaf.
Puree soup a bit with an immersion blender.
Ladle the soup into individual soup bowls. Serve the salsa and sour cream on the side, to be added at will. This soup is best served with jalapeno honey corn-bread muffins as an accompaniment (recipe follows today).
Yield: Eight to 12 servings
- Tuscan Vegetable Soup (lattesandleggings.com)