Spicy Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup (8).NEF

Having a variety of recipes that use dry beans in creative ways is one of the best ways to save money on food. Eating beans doesn’t have to mean opening a can and feeling deprived. Although this list of ingredients may appear daunting, they’re fairly basic items you should already have in your pantry or easily found at the store. Preparation is simple, consisting of putting everything together in a large pot. I make this soup when I have a large ham bone left from a bone-in ham, purchased when they go on sale.


  • 2 lb. dried black beans, cleaned and sorted
  • 4 quarts water
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups diced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • Large ham bone
  • 4 quarts chicken stock (if you don’t have chicken stock, use  4 qts. water and 12 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup diced red pepper
  • 3 Anaheim peppers, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Juice from half a lime, freshly squeezed
  • Sour cream, optional


Rinse black beans thoroughly and put in large pot with 4 quarts water. Bring to boil then let set for one hour. Drain beans and return to pot. Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic with the bacon until tender. Bacon does not need to be crisp.

Add the bacon, onions and garlic, along with ham bone and chicken stock to the pot. Stir in the spices: cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, cayenne, parsley and cilantro.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for six hours, or until beans are tender and ham falls off the bone.

Remove ham bone. Pull off and shred any remaining meat from the bone and return to pot. Add the chopped red pepper and Anaheim, brown sugar and lime juice. Simmer another hour. Serve topped with Salsa Fresca and sour cream.

Serving suggestions: Mom’s Cornbread and Salsa Fresca

Photography by Erin Gowen

Photography by Erin Gowen

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