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Monday, July 31, 2017

Smoky Black Bean and Ham Bone Soup


There is something alluring about the deep, inky color of black beans. Their earthy flavor makes them a good match for the salt and smoke imparted by the ham bone. Think of this is a black bean version of split pea soup. All you need is a simple green salad to make it a meal.

To drink: A robust red such as Chianti Classico or Spanish tempranillo.

Make Ahead: The beans need to be soaked overnight.



2 cups dried black beans, picked over to remove any foreign bits
1 meaty ham bone, plus 1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) meat from the bone
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water, or more as needed
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chipotle salsa or other tomato-based salsa
1/4 cup dry sherry
Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)


Put the beans in a bowl and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Let them soak overnight and then drain in a colander set in the sink.

Transfer the beans to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the ham bone. Pour the broth and water over the beans and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium; partially cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the beans are completely tender yet still hold their shape. Add water if the soup seems too thick. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low as needed to maintain gentle bubbling. Turn off the heat when the beans are done; let the soup cool for about 10 minutes.

Use tongs to transfer the ham bone to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the meat off the bone in chunks, then cut into small pieces or shred the chunks. The amount of meat you end up with will depend on how meaty the bone is. You'll need about 1 1/2 cups for the soup. Place the meat side in a bowl; discard the bone.

Discard the bay leaf left in the soup. Use an immersion (stick) blender to coarsely puree the black beans in the broth so that some are mashed and some remain whole. (If you don't have an immersion blender, puree some of the soup in a blender or use a potato masher to mash up some of the beans.)

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions, making sure they are evenly coated. Cook for 5 minutes, until they are beginning to soften, then stir in the garlic and cook for 7 minutes to further soften the onions, stirring often to prevent burning or scorching. Sprinkle in both kinds of paprika and the oregano, stirring until well incorporated. Add the salsa and cook for a minute or two, until all the ingredients are well blended.

Transfer the onion mixture to the soup, along with the reserved ham. Stir in the sherry, if using. Reheat the soup over medium-low heat just long enough for it to warm through.

Serve with sour cream and cilantro on the side, if desired.


From cookbook author Domenica Marchetti.

Tested by Domenica Marchetti.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per serving: 340
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 5g 8%
Saturated Fat: 1g 5%
Cholesterol: 20mg 7%
Sodium: 490mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates: 48g 16%
Dietary Fiber: 16g 64%
Sugar: 3g
Protein: 23g

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