Hearty Black Bean Soup

This is super on those cold, damp winter days. And it’s a great way to get rid of that ham or roast that the family is tired of eating. I usually freeze my leftovers and use for this recipe.

1 (1 lb.) bag black beans, boiled and soaked in water for one hour.
3 tblspns. olive oil seasoning to taste
1 lg. yellow onion, chopped

fresh basil, oregano, parsley; chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 lbs. chopped leftover ham or pork roast
3 spines celery, chopped

2 cans cream of “whatever you have on hand” soup

1 bottle dark beer

In a heavy dutch oven, sauté onion, garlic and celery in oil until tender. Add seasoning and herbs. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse in fresh water. Add to pot along with chopped ham or pork (also add any gravy that may be left over from the meat as well). Add the cream of “whatever” soups, the beer and enough water to cover at a depth of one inch over the bean mixture. (You can add another beer if you want.) Cover tightly and cook over a low fire for at least 2 hours or until beans are tender. Serve over hot, fluffy rice and top with grated sharp Cheddar cheese and diced raw Vidalia onion. If you’re lucky enough to have a bag of Julio’s tortilla chips on hand, break them out as well. Otherwise, console yourself with Dorito’s Organic Blue Corn chips.

*I use cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of potato; really, whatever I have in the pantry. They don’t even have to be the same.
**I’ve also used about ¼ jar of cheesy horseradish dip.

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