Cuban Ham and Black Bean Soup
Yield: 12-18 servings
- 1 or 2 meaty smoked ham hocks or turkey legs (about 1½ pounds)
- Olive oil
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 medium to large onions, chopped into ½ inch dice
- 1 each small to medium green and red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Approximately Two 14-ounce cans chicken or vegetable broth
- 6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 t. ground cumin
- 1 ½ t. dried oregano
- 3 generous T. tomato paste
- Three 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 limes, halved or about ½ cup cider vinegar
- Sour cream, cilantro leaves for garnish
- Trim the meat away from the ham hock bone, cutting it into small pieces. Don't be too fussy; leaving some on the bone is fine.
- In a large soup pot place a thin film of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Stir in the meat, bone, cloves, onions, bell peppers, and a coupe of healthy pinches of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are sizzling and there's a brown glaze on the bottom of the pan (the vegetables need not brown, and take care not to let that glaze blacken).
- Add the garlic, bay leaves, cumin and oregano. Sauté until garlic and spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and season with freshly ground pepper.
- Add half the broth and with a wooden spatula, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer; add the beans and the enough broth to make a desired consistency. Allow soup to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the juice from 2½ limes or 1/3 cup of the vinegar. Taste the soup for seasoning. Adjust salt, pepper, and lime juice or vinegar to taste.
- Enjoy hot, garnished with sour cream and cilantro.
© Copyright Chef Shellie Kark KitchenCUE 2011