I’ve had a lifelong Latin love affair with frijoles negros (black beans)—a dark and mysterious recipe that I just can’t get enough of. And once you’ve loaded a spoonful of my steaming hot Black Bean Soup topped with a cold dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of red onions and chopped cilantro, you’ll become a Latin lover, too.
There are several reasons my Black Bean Soup recipe is a consistent winner. First, is the quick sauté in bacon grease, a magical flavor addition to most any hearty dish. And if that weren’t enough smoke and pork-infused flavor, I add smoked ham hocks for the tantalizing taste and the meaty morsels that infuse the pot. And finally, I season my soup—and most any Latin-inspired dish—with a shake of Bijol. If you haven’t discovered this little South-of-the-border trick, pick up a small can of it at your neighborhood Latin grocery. You’ll find a variety of uses for it.
Pair a bowl of this soup with my Cajun Cuban Sandwich and discover a spicy combination.
- 3 tablespoons bacon grease
- 2 cups diced red onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Bijol seasoning
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 smoked ham hock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup sour cream, for garnish
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Lime wedges
- In a large pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the bacon grease and sauté 1 cup of the onions and the celery just until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, white pepper, and onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, Bijol, and lime juice. Add the beans along with the chicken stock and ham hock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the beans are tender and the meat from the hock is falling off the bone, about 1 hour.
- Remove the ham hock and debone. Discard the fat and bone, and return chunks of the meat to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream, diced onions and cilantro leaves. Serve with wedges of fresh lime.
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