Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Rice Bowl IMG_0601You’ll yield a wonderful, slow-cooked flavor when you simmer this black bean soup on the stove top. This is a Saturday soup as it needs a few hours of simmering to soften the beans, but it’s totally worth the wait. Serve this over some über-healthy brown rice and it’s a whole meal. 

It makes a hearty batch—about a gallon—so you’ll have plenty leftover for lunch at the office, or dinner some night when you’re in a rush. I usually package up a quart to give to my son Justin who lives on his own, and he’s always thrilled to get this in his “mom” bag. Another plus to this recipe? It’s a budget buster. I think I figured this costs about a buck a bowl to make. As for the origins of this recipe, I got it from my girlfriend’s mother several years ago, and it’s scribbled on the back of a hockey practice schedule. I can’t tell you any more than that!

(My husband thinks I should have captioned this photo: “Husband starves to death while wife does photo shoot of his dinner for blog.” He’s fine, people, really, he’s just fine.)

Serves 8

1 pound dry black beans
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 ham shank or meaty ham bone
1 yellow onion, chopped
¾ cup celery, chopped
½ to 1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (15 ounce) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon oregano
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
Sour cream (optional)

Cover the black beans with cold water in large Dutch oven, and soak overnight. Drain and rinse beans, then add fresh water to 1-inch above beans. Bring beans to a boil, then add vinegar and ham shank or bone. Reduce to simmer and cook for 2 hours.

Remove ham shank or bone from soup and set on plate to cool. In sauté pan on medium heat, cook onions until translucent. Add celery and green pepper, and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Add tomato sauce, salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano and stir to combine. Stir vegetable mixture into cooked beans. Return heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook another hour with cover cracked open to allow steam to escape. Soup should reduce down and thicken as it cooks.

Remove as much meat as possible from the ham bone and shred. Add meat to soup and stir to combine. Serve over cooked brown rice. If desired, top with sour cream.

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