Black Bean soup, star on South American tables


One of the most popular and ubiquitous South American dishes. Black bean soup is one of the most popular of South American soups. There are many versions, according to the single countries… and to the cook in the kitchen.

This is one of the easy versions we like. Feel free to comment and add your variations.

Serves 4
Preparation: 10 minutes, plus overnight soaking
Cooking: around 2 hours

1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 garlic clove
1/2 yellow bell pepper (capsicum), cored and seeded
1/2red bell pepper (capsicum), cored and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb (250 gr) dried black (turtle) beans, washed and soaked overnight
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
juice of half lemon
juice of half lime

sour cream
freshly chopped tomato
freshly chopped onion
4 slices of lime
cilantro (coriander) leaves

Chop the vegetables finely in a blender or food processor.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot. When hot, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, peppers and garlic and cook until soft.

Add the black beans and stock to the saucepan, cover and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 and a half hours, or until the beans are tender but not mushy. You might want to save time and use a pressure cooker: 45 minutes will do then.

Remove one third of the soup from the pot and purée in a blender or food processor; pour the purée back into the pot.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the soup and cook 5 more minutes.

Divide among 4 bowls and top with sour cream, the freshly chopped tomato and onion and a slice of lime.

* The beans need to be soaked before cooking. Overnight or at least 12 hours is recommended. A short cut is to wash them, put them in a pot of boiling water, cook for 5 minutes, then cover with a lid and turn off the fire. Leave for 1 hour, then proceed with the recipe.


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