My husband has told me that this is, if not his favorite thing I make – is in the top three at least. It’s easy to make, easy to increase or decrease the quantity and vary between a veg and a non-veg version. If you’re going to go non-veg, a ham hock is essential. But trust me – you don’t need it to have a delicious and nutritious soup!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
6 stalks celery, finely diced
3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 chipotles in adobo sauce – finely minced along with whatever adobo sauce is on them*
1 ham hock (non-veg version only)
4 cans black beans – with their liquid
3 cups chicken stock (non-veg version), vegetable stock (veg version)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup chopped cilantro or 3 tbs Recaito (culantro cooking base)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream for garnish
*If you can’t find chipotles in adobo sauce – usually in the Mexican aisle in your grocery store, you can add red pepper flakes for heat – about 1 teaspoon. Or if you don’t like it spicy at all – simply omit completely.
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook until vegetables are softened – about 5 minutes. Next add the chipotles in adobo sauce – combine.
If making the non-veg version, add your ham hock now. Nestle it down amid the vegetables. Add the beans (with the juices) and stock. Stir. Bring to a boil. Add the red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.
Lower the heat, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Add the chopped cilantro (or Recaito culantro cooking base) and stir.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a crisp white wine and some crusty bread.
A great day for me is preparing great meals for friends and family. I enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and also updating classics that I've enjoyed for years. I love to travel and try lots of new cuisines - and wouldn't be anything without the love of my family!