If you read my previous post for Spanish Potato Salad with Tuna you’ll remember that finding black beans here is not so easy. But at last, I found some at a Carrefour hypermarket, kind of like a Target or Walmart Superstore, but smaller.
I love beans! My favorites are black, garbanzo, and lentils. I love them in soups, salads, and just about anything. Let’s not forget about desserts too, such as, Black Bean Brownies and Sweet Red Bean Paste. Yum!
Recently, I made a batch of pinto beans cooked with ham knuckle. It reminded me of my Mom’s beans, which I haven’t had in years. We poured them over brown rice. It was delicious and went perfectly with the summer storm we were having. I had never seen or used ham knuckle before that. It doesn’t have much meat, so if you like some meat in your beans, go ahead and add some chopped ham during the last 30 minutes of cooking. That’s what we did for the pinto beans but for the black beans I left the meat out.
You don’t see a lot of black bean recipes calling for ham hocks or knuckles , why is that? I thought I would give it a try.
Since I’m not always great at planning ahead, I used the quick soaking method to prepare the beans. Which is:
Quick soaking method: Place beans to a large pot, cover with at least 3 inches of water above the beans, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer uncovered for 2 minutes; turn off heat, cover pot, and let beans soak for an hour. Drain and rinse.
Now you’re ready to cook the beans.
Black Bean Soup with Ham Knuckles
Serves 4 to 5
- 1 lb dry black beans, soaked (see instructions above)
- 1 pkg (304kg or there about) ham knuckles/codillo jamon
- 8 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (we always have red on hand, so that’s what I used)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 15oz canned diced tomatoes, drained
- freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- salt (to taste)
Optional: 1 1/2 cups cooked ham
To a large pot add: soaked beans, ham knuckles, bay leaves, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours.
While beans are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet. Add onion, carrot, celery, and red pepper. Toss to coat in oil and sweat vegetables on low-medium heat, stirring frequently for 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin by clearing a space in the middle of the pan, drizzling extra olive oil if needed. Cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from pan and set aside.
Remove ham knuckles and bay leaf; add vegetable mixture and tomatoes to pot. Season generously with fresh ground pepper, but don’t add any salt at this point. Transfer 4 cups of soup to a bowl and puree with hand mixer (do this in 2 batches if necessary). Return to pot.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes (optional: this is when you would add the cooked ham if adding). As the soup simmers, you may see a bit of foam on the top. If so, skim it off and discard. Add lime juice and adjust seasoning with salt, as needed.
Ladle soup into bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream (or queso fresco batido), squeeze a little more lime if you’d like and garnish with cilantro. That’s it!
What are some of your favorite bean recipes?