Black Bean Soup

It’s fall and the weather is getting chilly again. You want something to eat that is thick, warm and hearty, and easy to make and not time consuming. When you are trying to fulfill these requirements, one of the best ways is with a big bowl of soup.

Soup is one of those things that can either be a meal or a snack. Soup also is something that you can make in a batch and enjoy it for days.

This is a soup that you will try and come back to again and again.

Of the thick soups, one of my personal favorites is a black bean soup. Other than the soaking period, which can be done overnight after you have picked the beans over to be sure there are no stones in them, the process of making the soup is simple.

You can substitute vegetable stock instead of chicken stock if you want to make this a vegetarian soup. I like to use a canned vegetable stock if I’m not going to make my own. I’ve tried a wide variety of the boxed stocks and organic stocks and for me they have too strong an aftertaste which doesn’t complement the soup. The canned stock is mild and will accept the seasonings much better.

Whether you use chicken stock or not, this is a soup that you will try and come back to again and again. It truly is a great soup for any time of year, but is especially good on a cold night, so try a batch and enjoy.

Black Bean Soup

1 8-oz. bag of black beans, picked over to remove stones
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
2 small-to-medium carrots, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 quarts of chicken stock
1 T butter
Fresh cilantro, salt, pepper & cumin to taste
Sour cream for garnish

Soak the picked through beans overnight.

Rough chop the vegetables and the garlic. Sweat the veggies in the butter along with the garlic on medium heat to get them to start releasing their flavors until the celery and onions start to wilt a little. Add the beans. Add stock, covering the beans to about 1 inch and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and let it cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the beans are nice and tender.

Put the mixture in a blender or food processor and puree. Be careful not to put too much hot liquid into the blender at a time or it will explode on you. Small batches work best. Once pureed, strain the soup through a fine strainer and if it is too thick, add a little more hot stock. Season with cilantro, salt, pepper and a little cumin to taste. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.


Chef Smitty
Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is known for his creative use of fresh ingredients. Smitty has been teaching skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for more than 26 years each winter, and spends his summers working for High Sierra Waterski School since 2000. Smitty has been writing his chef column for Tahoe Weekly since 2005.