black bean soup with rice
Adapted from Gran Cocina Latina by Maricel E. Presilla.
This recipe calls for making a spice paste in a mortar and pestle, but you can always make it in a food processor if you prefer. If you’re serving the soup with rice, start the rice once you add the sofrito to the pot of beans.
for the beans
- 1 pound dry black beans, rinsed and picked over
- 10 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano, preferably Mexican
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ torn bay leaf
- 1 whole scallion, ends trimmed
for the sofrito
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 small bell peppers, minced
- 1 scallion, trimmed and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano, preferably Mexican
- 1 large handful cilantro stems and leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
finishing the dish
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 1 large handful cilantro leaves
In a large pot or dutch oven, combine beans, water, salt, dry oregano, olive oil, bay leaf, and scallion and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a vigorous boil for five minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and maintain a generous simmer for one hour. After an hour has past, ladle out a cup of beans and broth into a cup and mash with a bean masher or fork. Return lid to beans and maintain a light simmer.
In a small pan, combine olive oil and smoked paprika and heat over medium-low for ten minutes. While the paprika cooks, combine salt, scallion, garlic, chipotle, dry oregano, cumin, and cilantro stems in a mortar and pestle and work the mixture into a chunky paste. Increase heat of the pan to medium high and add the paste, cooking for one minute while stirring continuously. Add the bell peppers and continue to cook, stirring every now and then, for five minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the mashed beans and liquid to the pot. Cook for a few minutes, stirring every now and then. Remove sofrito from heat and set aside.
Remove the lid from the beans and check beans for doneness. If the beans are still hard, cover and continue simmering, checking every thirty minutes. If they’re soft, remove the scallion and bay leaf from the pot and add the sofrito mixture. Turn heat up to medium to maintain a simmer. Continue to simmer for twenty minutes, stirring every now and then. Remove from heat, add lime juice and scallions, and salt to taste. Let rest for five minutes.
Serve soup over rice, topping each bowl with cilantro.