South Beach Black Bean Soup
This soup bears the name of one in my earlier book, How to Eat, but is very different in composition. There are fewer ingredients in it and fewer demands on the cook who makes it. But how could I lose such a title—in this chapter of all places? The point about this is that it provides a way of using up the sweet, dark liquor that the Coke-cooked ham has left behind. I know I’m extravagant, but as I’m so fond of intoning, I’m never wasteful, and this is a rewarding way of satisfying my need to use up every last thing in the kitchen. It’s not as if you need to make the soup right away; by all means freeze the stock for future soups if you want. In terms of flavor, I dare say it could be used for a variety of soups, but there is an aesthetic factor to be considered—which isn’t the same thing as being queeny about presentation. The point about black beans is that they’re black: what do they care about the color of the stock they’re simmered in? If anything, the sludgy darkness of this liquid enhances their muddy glory.
NotesI never soak black beans: just make sure that when you cook them they get their 10 toxin-destroying minutes of vociferous boiling and you’re off.
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Taste and Texturesweet, tangy
Type of Dishhot soup, soup
- About 3 cups (18 ounces) dried black beans
- Coca-Cola ham stock from earlier recipe plus water if needed(Search for Ham in Coca-Cola)
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Sour cream
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Lime wedges
Cook the black beans in enough Coca-Cola ham stock and water, if needed, to cover by about 2 inches until they’re tender. Let the liquid first come to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 1 to 1½ hours. Remove about 3 ladles of the soup to a blender, add the lime juice and ground spices, blitz to a muddy purée and stir this back into the pan of soup. And that’s it.
Swirl some sour cream, as you please, into the bowls of soup as you ladle them out and sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro. Plonk the lime wedges onto the table and let people squeeze the sharp juice into this dense, sweet soup as they eat.
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2002 Nigella Lawson