Yesterday morning Vera says let’s have black bean soup today. What a good idea we both love black beans prepared any which way. I would have preferred to let the beans soak overnight but I did not have this luxury because we were going to eat the soup for dinner. I started cooking a bag (1lb) of black beans I about seven (7) cups of chicken broth; brought it up to a rapid boil then reduced to a simmer. I covered the Dutch oven. I told Vera I was going to add chicken to the beans later in the process but then son Mike piped up and said “why don’t you add ham hocks” (just what I would expect from a guy born in Mississippi). Another great idea! So it was off to Kroger to get smoked ham hocks. In order to get the most flavor from the ham hocks I put them in with the beans right away and was expecting to simmer for 4-5 hours. I had to add broth to cover the hocks.
When I had about an hour or so to go in the cooking process I added 3 large chopped carrots and 3 large celery stalks. (You can add chopped green, red, yellow peppers and onions too.). Then I added (2) tablespoons of cumin, (1) tablespoon of ground ancho peppers; you can use chili powder if you don’t have ancho peppers and a teaspoon of salt. Adjust to your own taste.
I needed to add more broth while the soup was cooking so there would be plenty of broth when done; it is your call on how much you want to add – if any.
After the soup was done I removed the hocks and carefully trimmed the meat off the bone, chopped it up and put the meat back into the soup. There was not much meat after I removed the fat and gristle.
I didn’t load up the soup because I like to finish it in the bowls. There are several toppings you can use to finish.
Chopped hard boiled eggs
Shredded cheese (i.e. cheddar, jack, Mexican blend etc.)
In my bowl I added jalapenos, sour cream, onions, cheese and avocados. This made for a hearty one bowl meal and I am looking forward to leftovers tonight.
There is a plethora of ways to make black bean soup or just black beans so give it a go; it is an easy to make meal and so darn good.