Cuban Black Bean & Potato Soup

I recently found myself ‘wasting’ an afternoon at the Cameron Village library in Raleigh, where I sat down to look through a couple of cooking magazines. I found a recipe for Cuban Black Bean soup which I jotted down.  It’s not the first Cuban black bean soup I’ve made, but this one looked like it would be worth a try.  It starts with a sofrito mixture (in Cuba, that’s onion, garlic and sweet pepper) for an authentic Cuban taste.

I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit (as usual), my adjusted recipe is shared below.  Because I only had a couple of small white potatoes on hand, but also a nice sweet potato, I decided to mix them up instead of only using white potato, as called for in the original recipe.  After tasting the soup I realized I wanted a little more of a flavor kick, so I added cayenne, black pepper and lime juice.  I also added cooking sherry, since I remembered using that in many other Cuban recipes in February. I think the additions were in the spirit of Cuban food, so I’m still calling it a “Cuban” soup!

Cuban Black Bean & Potato Soup
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic
3 cans black beans, drained
2 small white potatoes, diced (about 1 c.)
1/2 large sweet potato, diced (about 1 c.)
1 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. cooking sherry
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (to taste)

Saute the sofrito ingredients (onion, peppers and garlic) over medium heat until softened and translucent. Add half the black beans and 6 cups water. Puree.

Mix in remaining black beans, potatoes, vinegar, sherry, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Taste and add more salt and black pepper to taste. Add 1-2 tsp. lime juice just before serving.

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