Monday, March 14, 2011

Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup

Adapted from the latest issue of Vegetarian Times (recipe not yet available online).

I medium onion, diced [I used a red onion]
1 small red pepper, diced
1 small green pepper, diced [didn't have so I used a yellow one]
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 C cooked black beans, about 1 lb. dried [I used a mix of pinto and great northern]
3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced [don't peel!]
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T ground cumin
1 large bay leaf
1 T oregano [I used dried]
1 T salt or to taste [if using canned beans, use less salt]
pinch or two of cayenne
1.5 T canola oil
6 C water or low-sodium chx broth

I made mine from scratch instead of using canned beans because I had the time. If you are short on time, just drain and rinse about 3 cans of black beans [or other type of bean if you prefer]. Start by making the sofrito: coarsely chop onions, peppers and garlic and throw into your food processor; process until finely minced. If you don't want to dirty your food processor, then chop by hand. Add the oil to your pressure cooker and saute sofrito for about 3-4 minutes or until veg softens. Add cumin, oregano and bay leaf and stir to combine. If using dried beans, place one pound of rinsed and drained beans into the pot and add water (I used about 3 C chx broth from the freezer and added enough water to make 6 cups).

Depending on how fresh your beans are and if you bothered to soak overnight, place pressure cooker on high pressure for 30 min and then allow 20 min of natural pressure release. Check beans at this time to test for doneness. Mine were a little on the old side so they took longer. If beans seem like they are close to done, add in potatoes and either simmer until potatoes are done or place back under high pressure for 5-10 minutes (again, depending on how done your beans are) and then allow 10 min. for natural pressure release. Or do the whole thing in a crock pot and cook all day or do it on the stove top in a dutch oven. Either way, when the beans and potatoes are done, use an immersion blender or a potato masher and squish the beans a bit. *Caution - be sure to remove the bay leaf before using your immersion blender* Don't do it too much or you'll end up with a pot of mush. Before serving, add salt and vinegar. Makes your house smell delicious and this soup tastes every bit as amazing as it smells. If you want to add meat, use a ham hock or smoked turkey wing for flavor and meaty bits. Otherwise, it tasted delicious without any added meat.

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