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Cuban Black Bean Soup

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Soups on!  You’d think it was cold in Florida – fall is more of a mindset and one that encourages me to start serving up my favorite comfort foods in anticipation of a day below 70 degrees.

Ever since moving to Key West in 1982 before migrating northward to Tampa I fell in love with Cuban food. Over the years I’ve perfected recipes for my favorite dishes.  This black soup is sure to please.  Hearty enough for a main meal or a smaller portion as a starter.


1 pound dried black beans
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 meaty ham bone or smoked ham hock
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt  & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

sour cream
chopped purple onion
chopped red pepper


The night before cooking the soup place the beans in a large pot and cover with approximately 8-10 cups water.  Allow to soak overnight.

The next day drain the beans and dispose of the water.  Refill with clean cold water.  Approximately 6 cups or 1 inch over the top of the beans.  Add in the onion, pepper, garlic and ham bone or hock. Stir in the olive oil, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Bring to a boil and skim off any foam, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 3 to 4 hours until the beans are very soft and the soup is creamy not watery.  Remove the cover and continue to simmer for another 1 to 2 hours until thickened. The final consistency should be velvety and thick and the soup should coat the back of a spoon.

When the soup is nearly finished stir in the vinegar and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Pull the ham bone or hock out — the meat that hasn’t already fallen off should be easy to pull off; roughly chop and return to pot.

Serve over rice (optional) and garnish with the sour cream, raw onions and bell pepper.