In Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we're sharing our Founder Cristie Besu's Father's Famous "Sopa De Frijoles Negros" (Black Bean Soup) Recipe. Buy his Cuban Cooking Book here.
Roger Besu's Sopa de Frijoles Negros Recipe
This has to be one of the most mentioned dish when people talk of Cuban Cooking. It is so popular that it is made by Cuban origin people for almost any occasion, from a puree for the babies to an elegant soup to open an elegant dinner. Of course, it is mostly enjoyed as a side dish to add on top of fluffy white rice. My preference is to have it as a soup, thus I don't make mine too thick and I add small diced raw white onions on the top at the time I serve it. One could go on about this for pages; but this is not a history book. To my knowledge the black bean is not as used in our sister south of the border nations. I only know of the Venezuelas and the Costa Ricans as devout users and you find it in their popular food markets and restaurants.
- 16 oz of dry black beans
- 2 each bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp oregano dry
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 each bell pepper, green and red, quartered
- 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
- 1/4 cup olive oil, with reserve to drizzle over the top when served
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 4 each garlic cloves, minced
- 12 oz ham, cooking, with bone in center, cut into1/2 inch cubes (ham is optional)
- EMGF Protein Tortillas to enjoy with
- Place beans in a colander and rinse them under cold running water, removing all impurities.
- Then, sort and soak beans overnight (for at least 8 hours). Discard the water used for soaking (This process is said to be good to avoid flatulence; however, some Cubans warn that beans lose their character unless they are cooked in the soaking water; I agree because I never met anyone who suffered gastric disorders as a result.)
- In a 4-quart pot, add all of the ingredients, except olive oil. Bring to boil; reduce to medium heat.
- Cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hour (check after 1 hour for some black beans require less cooking time). Periodically remove with a slotted spoon any foam from the top. Remove bay leaves.
- Stir frequently so that the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Swirl the olive oil on top before serving.
- Serve beans over fluffy white rice.
- Ham it Up: As an option, you can add "substance" to this dish by adding a cooking ham piece with all the ingredients. Remove the ham at the time you remove the bay leaves, cut into 1/2 inch dice and put back in.
- Spicy option: Substitute the ham with 2 hot Italian or andouille sausages, sautéed separately in a heavy skillet with olive oil. Cut the sausages into bite size and add ¼ teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes.
- Servings: 6
- Preparation Time: 10 minutes
- Cooking Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
In a hurry? I suggest that if you are in a hurry at this juncture and you have a pressure cooker, use it to cut the cooking time. Place the pressure cooker in high heat until starts whistling, reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Remove cooker from heat and let it cool on a cool burner for about 1/2 hour. Uncover and check for thickness and taste. If too soupy, leave the cooker uncovered and simmer until they acquire the desired thickness.