Black bean and bacon soup with chop chop and sour cream

Black bean and bacon soup with chop chop and sour cream

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

Ham bones, if you, your butcher or your delicatessen have any, are a welcome addition here when you cook the beans. An inky-rich black bean soup, smoky with bacon and sweet with peppers, it’s best of all when you serve this soup with as many garnishes as you can muster – think bright colours and contrasting textures.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g dried black beans, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight
3 bay leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 green pepper, deseeded and finely diced
150g smoked streaky bacon, cut into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2-1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or lime, juiced, to taste

To garnish, bare minimum

Quantity Ingredient
sour cream
red onion, finely sliced
red or green peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

Other optional garnishes

Quantity Ingredient
banana, chopped
chilli flakes or chopped fresh chilli
coriander leaves, roughly chopped
avocado, chopped
fresh tomato, diced
sweetcorn

Method

  1. Drain the soaked beans, rinse under cold water, then drain again and put into a large deep pan with enough fresh cold water to cover the beans by at least 5cm. Add the bay leaves and bring to the boil over a high heat. Skim off any froth that appears, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered slightly, for 1 1/2–2 hours, or until the beans are tender. If the beans get too dry, top up with more water.
  2. While the beans are cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the diced onion, green pepper and bacon. Cook over a moderate heat for 8–10 minutes, until the onion and pepper are soft. Add the garlic, cumin and oregano, with 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous quantity of black pepper. Cook for a further 3–4 minutes, so that the flavours meld and the mix starts to become soft and sweet-smelling. Put to one side.
  3. When the beans are cooked, drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Add the beans to the onion and bacon mix, stirring to combine, adding cupfuls of the bean cooking liquid to the bean mix until you have the desired consistency.
  4. At this point you can partially blend the soup – remove about a quarter or a third and blend, returning the blended mix to the unblended beans and stirring – or you can leave it as it is.
  5. Taste the soup, adjusting with salt and pepper where necessary and adding 1 tablespoon or so of red wine vinegar or lime juice to season.
  6. Serve immediately, with your choice of garnish.
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