A memorable soup for a cold winter's evening. January is National Soup month. If it were up to me, every month would be national soup month. This is the first recipe I used for Cuban Black Bean Soup, back when Moses was 10, and it's the one I still use. This is one of my favorites.
Cuban Black Bean Soup
adapted from a 1972 Southern Living recipe
1 pound dried black beans (sometimes called "turtle beans")
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt (for beans)
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt (for the soup)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 or 2 green sweet peppers, chopped
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Soak beans in water overnight. Next day, using same water, add the 1 tablespoon salt, bring to a boil, cover and cook until beans are almost tender. (These beans require longer cooking than other varieties.)
Crush together garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, and dry mustard. Heat oil and saute onions about 5 minutes in large skillet; add green pepper and continue sauteing until onions are tender. Stir in seasoning mixture and lemon juice, then about 1/2 cup of the hot bean liquid. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Add to beans and continue cooking until flavors are blended, about 1 hour.
To thicken soup, remove 1 cup of beans and liquid and put through blender or fine sieve, returning puree to soup kettle. Check seasonings and correct if necessary.
Serve in bowls with mound of hot dry rice in center. Garnish top with finely diced green onion tops; or soup may be garnished with diced hard-cooked egg with thinly sliced lemon floating on surface. The ideal accompaniment for this soup is Cuban Bread or Italian Bread Sticks.