Spicy Mexican Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream
  • For the Soup:
  • 2 cups (dry) black beans, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano, or 3 tbsp fresh
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tbsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers
  • 12 cups fresh cold water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry, white wine, or light rum, if desired
  • For the Avocado Cream:
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp grated onion or shallot
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
  • 2 TBPS roughly chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Stir all ingredients lightly together in a bowl, refrigerate until ready to serve.
  1. Soak the black beans 6 to 8 hours or up to overnight prior to cooking. Drain and rinse soaked beans before using.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and chopped peppers, saute until the onion is translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the garlic, oregano, cumin, chipotle chilies, and adobo sauce, and saute for 1 minute. Add the cold water, bay leaf, and beans. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1-1/2 to 2 hour, until the beans are tender.
  3. Stir in the cocoa powder, orange juice, cilantro, scallions, and salt; add the alcohol if you want and continue to simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  4. Serve as is or puree in a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender if you prefer a smooth soup. Top each bowl with a couple of tablespoons of the avocado cream and a dollop of fresh tomato salsa
This soup full of surprises. The chipotle paired with the unexpected addition of cocoa makes it taste a little like Mexican mole. I like to pair it with a simple avocado cream,fresh tomato salsa, and some corn tortilla chips. These add a creamy coolness, pop of bright acid, and crunchy texture to the smooth soup. It is heaven in every bite!