Print This Recipe Written by Chacha on Jul 5th, 2012 in Black beans, Dry Beans, Latin, Meatless Main Dish, Recipe, Soups | No Comments

Servings: 6 to 8


For the soup:

  • 1 pound dried black beans (preferably Goya brand)
  • 1 smoked ham hock, optional
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, divided
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican or Greek oregano leaves, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon tomato paste or ¼ cup canned tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce, (preferably Tabasco)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Spanish dry sherry (preferably Jerez)

For the Lime Crema:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for serving


Pick through the beans over to make sure there are no small stones or other debris mixed in with them. Rinse under cold running water.

In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, put beans, ham hock,  2 smashed cloves of garlic, ½ of the onion, green pepper, cilantro and one-count olive oil. Add water and set over high heat. (Note: DO NOT add salt here! Adding salt at this point can prevent the beans from cooking and make the skins of the beans tough and cause them to split open or break, thereby lengthening their cooking time.) Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to lowest setting possible; cook for 5 to 6 hours or until beans are tender and the cooking liquid is thick. Stir occasionally while cooking and add more water, if needed.

Once beans are cooked, take out ham hock if using it and season the beans well with salt. (Note: This will allow the beans to absorb the seasoning.) Cut ham meat off the bone, cut into bite size pieces and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat a 3-count of olive oil over medium heat. Add remaining onion. Sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle, combine the remaining 4 cloves of garlic and ½ teaspoons salt and mash to form a paste. Add the garlic paste to the onions. Add the oregano, cumin, tomato paste or sauce, hot sauce and vinegar. Season well with salt and pepper; sauté for 3 minutes. Add a ladle of the black beans to the onion mixture in the saucepan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen and collect any brown bits left behind there and add to the bean pot. Stir to combine. Add cilantro. Cover and continue to cook for 20 minutes so all the flavors marry together; stirring often so the beans do not stick.

Make the crema by combining sour cream and zest. Set aside.

Fold ham meat into the soup, if using it. Add Sherry. Taste and add extra salt and pepper, only if required.

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls. Garnish with a spoonful of lime crema, a lime wedge and some fresh chopped cilantro.


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