Saturday, September 2, 2006

Persistence Pays : A Black Bean Soup story

In times past, the CC lived in another city, and within that city there was a Jamaican restaurant. They made a killer black bean soup.

Now, this being one of those happy, clappy neighborhoods, they made it vegetarian (tradionally, they would've used some ham.)

Oh, how we loved that soup!

So, a friend and I went there three days in a row trying to discover the secret of this soup. Finally, one of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed waiters noticed, and asked us what was up. So we told him, and he ran into the kitchen. He ran back (being all of 18, and not yet quite jaded) and told us the "important part", and the rest we just kinda figured out ourselves.

Patience is required since this requires some planning.


4 cups dried black beans
1 red onion (finely diced)
2 tomatoes (finely diced)
4 cloves garlic (finely minced)

1/2 scotch bonnet (yep! 1/2, diced)

2 tbsp fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
1 tsp cumin
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp ground cloves
black pepper (lots)
cilantro (finely minced)

cooking sherry (sweet)


Soak the beans in water overnight. Next morning, rinse them, and then soak them in cooking sherry for at least 8 hours. Before cooking, separate the beans from the sherry, but keep the sherry.


Fry the onion, and the garlic. Toss in the tomatoes, beans, water to cover, and the spices, and a good fraction of the sherry (depending on how sweet you want it to taste.) Cook for about an hour or more till the beans are cooked through.

Throw in the scotch-bonnets towards the end otherwise it'll make the soup too hot.

The cilantro is for sprinkling right before serving.

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