Traditional Cuban black bean soup has an earthy taste to it. It completely avoids the acidic flavours of tomato that a lot of bean soups offer and instead provides a hearty dose of sweet peppers and a creamy texture for a dish that’s authentically Latino through and through.
One of the great things about the Cuban black bean recipe is that it can be used as a catch-all to help clean out your pantry and fridge. You can add to the soup all those ingredients that you have leftover and don’t know what to do with while still keeping with a lot of the traditions that are expected from black bean soup.
While this soup is known for its ham bone flavour, if you wanted to make it vegetarian, there is so much flavour in the rest of the ingredients that you probably wouldn’t miss the ham bone.
An authentic Cuban black bean soup recipe will differ from one person’s home to another’s. Each restaurant that serves it will have their own variation on it as well, so odds are that if you have tried one, giving another a taste should be pretty different. It’s worth trying this soup wherever you go just to see how people make it differently. Even if you have tried the soup before, you might not have tried this version of the Cuban black bean soup recipe that we are sharing with you.
Cuban Black Bean and Ham Soup Recipe
Keep in mind that our recipe for the soup has ham in it, but if you want a Cuban black bean soup recipe vegetarian version, you can simply take out the ham and still have a soup that is bursting with flavour and that has that authentic Cuban feel to it. We will divide this recipe into parts. There are lots of ingredients, and we will split them into the bean portion of the soup, the sofrito, and the finishing touches.
Cuban Black Bean and Ham Soup Recipe
- 2 cups black beans rinsed and dried
- 12 cups cold water
- 1 ham hock
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 yellow onion peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cubanelle pepper chopped and seeded
- 1 large green bell pepper minced, cored, and seeded
- 1 yellow onion minced and peeled
- 4 cloves of garlic minced fine
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp oregano dried
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp teaspoons of sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- We begin by cooking up the beans and ham. You need to add the beans, bay leaf, ham, onion, water, and green pepper to a large pot and bring that to a boil on a high heat. Once the water is boiling, you can lower it to a medium heat and allow it to simmer until the beans become soft. This should take about an hour and a half to two hours. You can add more water as necessary until the beans are done cooking.
- Your broth should be a little creamy but not very creamy at this point.
- Next, get rid of the pepper, onion, and bay leaf and turn down the heat to low. Take about a third of the beans out with a ladle and puree them in a blender or mash them with a spoon. Set those pureed beans aside and keep the beans simmering on the stove while you prepare the remainder of the recipe for Cuban black bean soup.
- Next, we are making sofrito, and you’ll start by heating up the sofrito oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the garlic and let it sauté, which should just take a few seconds. Then, add your green pepper, Cubanelle pepper, onion, and bay leaf. These need to sauté as well, which takes about five minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the vegetables are soft.
- Add in oregano and cumin and cook while stirring for about a minute. Add in the mashed beans here and cook for an additional minute, then take the sofrito off the heat.
- To complete the soup, you can stir the sofrito together with the pot of beans and ham. Add in the salt, black pepper, vinegar, and sugar. Give the soup a taste to ensure it is tangy and sweet.
- Then, put your pot to cook over low heat and partially cover and simmer, cooking for 30-45 minutes. You are wanting it to get really creamy, and you can check it occasionally until it reaches the right consistency.
- Take out the bay leaf and serve the soup. It can be garnished with olive oil.
How to Make Cuban Black Bean Soup in a Pressure Cooker
If you want to simplify things and speed up the process, you can cook your dried beans in a pressure cooker in much less time than it takes to cook them in a pot on the stove.
You can soften the beans before cooking them by placing them in water overnight. If you do, it will only take about 25 minutes to cook the beans. Just put them in the pressure cooker with eight cups of water for every two cups of beans. That’s a 1:4 ratio of beans to water.
You can add in your onion, ham, and bay leaf as well, if you like. Cook for about 10 minutes on high as the pressure builds up, and then reduce the pressure cooker to a low heat and cook for another 15 minutes. Turn off the cooker and allow the steam to escape. Then you can ladle out the 1/3 portion of beans and use it in the sofrito. Cook the sofrito as normal, and then add that to the beans, simmering everything for a few minutes.