When you are in Key West, you know it. Not because it’s warm and there are palm trees everywhere. You know you are in Key West because of the food, the smells, the music and … well let’s face it… the vibe. How can you recreate this when you are back up North? Well, let me share my secret… make food that brings back the smells, the vibe and listen to great music while doing it. Today, I found myself up North and missing Key West very much. My solution … make Cuban Black Bean soup!
How does this bring Key West to you? First, the smell of garlic and lime get your taste buds ready. Then, set the atmosphere with music that reminds you of Key West. For me, that’s salsa music. I love the rhythms and how it makes me start to dance… even though I am not really that good. My music source? Pandora… yep, they have a salsa station… plays a lot in our house. Our neighbors really don’t know what to think of us most of the the time!
What was my inspiration for this soup? Cuban black beans and rice. Every Cuban restaurant in Key West serves black beans and they are my go to favorite side dish. But, I was thinking how could I make this into dinner? Then I thought about Black Bean soup; which traditionally is a Mexican dish… why could’t I make it Cuban? By changing a few ingredients I think I have a very good Cuban Black Bean soup. The garlic smell lingers awhile in the house and with salsa playing in the background, I can close my eyes and almost feel like I am back in Key West.
Well, let’s get started making this wonderful Cuban Black Bean Soup.
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the pepper and cook 2 more minutes. Then add the garlic. By adding the garlic at the very end, it keeps it from burning.
Add the black beans, broth, cumin, oregano and cayenne. At this stage I add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occaisonally.
After simmering, add the rum and lime juice to the soup. Stir well and remove from the heat. Ladle about half of the mixture into a blender and puree the soup. Return the pureed soup to the pot and heat for 5 more minutes.
To serve, top each serving with fresh avocado and a dollop of sour cream.
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans drained and rinsed. I use the reduced sodium kind.
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth. I use the no salt added kind, which means I can control the amount of salt in the dish easier.
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and Pepper; to taste
2 tablespoons white rum
Juice of one lime
(Adapted from: Marlene Koch – Eat what you Love)