Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Black Bean Soup with Sherry

I like spicy black beans and rice, Latin style. But sometimes I want to do something with black beans that doesn't involve cumin and chile. Here's an example:


  • 1 lb. dry black beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cooking oil
  • 1 onion
  • a couple cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery (optional - sometimes I feel like celery and sometimes I don't)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. herbes de Provence (or try it with just thyme and marjoram)
  • 2 tbl. sherry
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes (or a couple fresh tomatoes - or maybe some sun-dried tomatoes - it's up to you)
  • 1 bunch of kale


  1. Sort and wash the beans. Soak them overnight in a large bowl.
  2. The next day, cook them in a medium-size pot, with fresh water and the bay leaf, until tender. (Don't overcook.)
  3. After the beans have been cooking for an hour or so, heat the oil in a larger pot and sautee the onion until caramelized.
  4. Add the herbs, maybe a little salt and pepper, then add the garlic, carrots and optional celery. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Now pour in a shot of sherry (or red wine if you don't have sherry.) Let it return to a boil, then add the tomatoes.
  6. When the beans are tender, pour them and their cooking water into the onion mixture. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Continue to simmer the soup over low heat.
  7. At this point I like to chop the kale and cook it in the empty bean pot, then add it to the soup. Simmer about 5 minutes longer. When the vegetables are soft and it tastes good to you, it's done!
The inestimable Camellia Beans company, based here in New Orleans, includes sherry in the list of ingredients for their Black Bean Soup recipe, which is printed on the back of their bags of black beans. That's where I got the idea to use sherry. Very pleased with it. (Another nice thing about Camellia Beans is that they are quick-cooking and don't really need to be pre-soaked. Maybe they are nice fresh beans.)

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