Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey’s Black Bean Soup with Salsa

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ok, I swear I’ll stop posting about beans.  I feel like that’s all I talk about, but I had to share this soup with you b/c it’s just too good to not share, even at the risk of being “the bean lady”.  I’ve had The Essential New York Times Cookbook on loan from the library for about a thousand weeks now (and I’m so sad I have to give it back, finally).  This is a recipe I found there.  Make it this weekend and eat it for days. Buy good, fresh salsa if you don’t feel up to making it.

Black Bean Soup with Salsa

adapted from a recipe by Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey via The Essential New York Times Cookbook

Note**this recipe called for beans that haven’t been soaked overnight or quick-soaked.  I did soak mine overnight which significantly reduced the time the soup was on the burner: from 2 1/2 hours to about 1 hour.  You can use whatever method you like for the beans, even subbing rinsed, canned beans if need be. Also, instead of chicken or vegetable broth, I used bean broth left over from pinto beans I had cooked a few days before (ok, I AM the bean lady)…You can use the liquid you use to cook beans in place of broth.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 16 cups broth (vegetable, or chicken, or bean, see note)
  • 1 pound black beans, soaked
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • salsa
  • sour cream


For Salsa:

  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, finely diced
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of one lime

Heat olive oil and butter, in a large pot, over medium high heat.

Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, three tablespoons of the cumin, black pepper, oregano and a pinch of salt. Stir to blend and cover. Cook about five minutes over moderately low heat. Do not allow the mixture to burn.

Add the tomato paste and stir briefly. Add the broth and bring to a boil.

Drain the beans and add them to the soup. Cook, uncovered, simmering until the beans are velvety and some of them have fallen apart.
Stir in the lime juice, cayenne pepper, salt, and cilantro. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Serve the salsa and sour cream on the side, to be added at will.

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