I recently ate a bowl of phenomenal black bean soup at Bonita in Brooklyn and I've been on the hunt for a good recipe since. The soup was rich and deep with a healthy punch of spice and a mouthwatering acidity, and topped with a fried egg. It's easy to make black bean soup if you've recently cooked a pot of black beans from dry—the bean-cooking liquor is the perfect liquid base because it has all that body and flavor. But I wanted to find something that would taste great from canned black beans for a weeknight meal.
Many Cuban recipes I found had a long list of ingredients, too many to fit the bill. In the end, I relied on a simple recipe from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Bittman purées a cup of the beans to give it that body, and relies on simple pantry ingredients like chili powder for the kick. He stirs in the spices to the sautéeing onions, building the flavor early on, and uses lime juice for the acidity. The fried egg was my own addition, which I added instead of the called-for yogurt or sour cream garnish.
Black Bean Soup with Fried Egg
- 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, or more to taste
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans, or 3 cups cooked from dry
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Juice of 1 lime, or to taste
- Sour cream or plain yogurt to garnish, or 1 egg
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional minute.
Add the beans, stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes.
If using the egg, heat an additional tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat in the meantime. Add the egg, cover, and fry slowly until the whites are completely set and the yolk is to your liking (I prefer it soft so it disperses into the soup).
To thicken the soup, purée it briefly with a stick blender, transfer half through food mill or into a blender, or just mash it by hand. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Adjust seasoning as necessary, garnish with cilantro and egg or yogurt or sour cream. Serve immediately.