Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Quick Black Bean Soup

Quick Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup is my favorite winter soup. It's something I've been making for over 20 years, having discovered the Silver Palate Cookbook recipe when I was a teenager learning how to cook.

Back then, I made the recipe faithfully, including using a full cup of olive oil for sautéing the 3 cups of diced onions (which, I'll agree with my mother now seemed a bit excessive). Today, I do a few things a little differently, such as using kielbasa instead of a ham bone (and a lot less oil). You can read that recipe here. It's a wonderful soup, but it takes overnight to soak the beans and about 2 hours of cooking time. That works great for the weekend, but it's a stretch for a typical weeknight.

As an alternative, I came up with this "quick" black bean soup recipe. It's similar to the Basic Black Bean Soup but cooks in a fraction of the time. In fact, from the moment I set the Dutch oven on the stove to the moment I turned it off and dished up the soup took just 35 minutes. That's not bad for a hearty, flavorful homemade bean soup.

Of course using canned beans is essential to the reduced cooking time. And yes, canned beans aren't as tasty as dried ones, but they aren't bad. I'm a big fan of the Goya brand, and the larger 28-oz. can is just right for this soup. And homemade soup with canned beans is still tastier than a not homemade canned soup, in my opinion (channeling Ana Gasteyer's Good Wife judge there). This soup is just as good if not better on the second day, so I recommend making enough for leftovers.

Quick Black Bean Soup

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt or seasoned salt, to taste
1 smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder (or more if you want it hotter)
28 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. dry sherry

1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Season with salt and sauté until the onions have softened, about 6-8 minutes.

2. Add the kielbasa, stir to combine and cook another couple minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder, black beans, chicken stock and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the brown sugar and sherry and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve hot in bowls.


Basic Black Bean Soup


  1. Goya beans are the best! This soup looks delicious, need to try this soon.

  2. Love your creative ideas... This looks like a winner!