I ate my first bowl of black bean soup here in February 1974.
The Actors Company (http://www.mckellen.com/stage/index6.htm) was performing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for five glorious but freezing weeks. After the performance each night we would get on the subway at Flatbush Avenue and ride back into Manhattan to eat late.
Joe Allen in the theatre district was a favourite stop. It was reasonably priced and at that time of night packed with fellow actors, noisily “coming down” from “the show”. It was heaven!
Their french fries and the black bean soup were favourites; they were cheap and helped restore the energy level after a three hour performance.
1/2 lb black beans–soaked for 8 hours (discard water afterwards)
(Soaking the dry beans doubles their weight–so if you’re using tinned beans, you need 1 lb/400 gm.)
If you have time it’s worth using dried beans; the water they cook in makes a tasty base for the soup stock.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions–chopped small
4 garlic cloves–peeled and chopped
1 small fresh red chili–seeds removed and chopped
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
16 oz/4oo gm tin of tomatoes–chopped with their juice
1 pint/500 ml of the bean water, to which you add an organic vegetable stock cube dissolved in 4 floz/100 ml of water or 600 ml organic vegetable stock
salt and pepper
Juice of a lime–if you have one
Drain and rinse the beans.
Put them in a saucepan with enough water to cover by a couple of inches.
Bring to the boil and cook at a simmer until tender–about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan and sweat the onions for about 10 minutes until they are soft.
Drain the beans (saving the water for later).
Add the beans, garlic, chilli and the spices to the onions and cook on for a couple of minutes.
Mix in the tomatoes and the stock.
Bring the soup to the boil and let it simmer gently, covered (it can become too thick if left uncovered), for 30 minutes.
Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I’m going to leave it unliquidised this time –but you can liquidise it all to a smooth finish or liquidise just half of it.
Add a squeeze of lime instead of the more traditional sour cream or yogurt to finish.