Cuban black bean and red pepper soup

We're swapping salads for soups now that the days are getting colder! This cuban black bean soup is hearty and filling and full of the delicious flavours of sweet peppers and spicy chillis.

 Bowl Food


200 g/1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight, or the contents of 2 x 400-g/14-oz. cans, drained

1 small onion, peeled

1 small green (bell) pepper, cut in half and deseeded

1 bay leaf

sea salt and caster/ granulated sugar, to taste

crème fraîche or sour cream, to serve


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

4 red or yellow (bell) peppers, 2 deseeded and chopped and 2 cut in half and deseeded

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 /2 tablespoon red wine vinegar


1– 2 hot red chillies/chiles, stalks removed and deseeded

1 shallot, chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

1 /2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 /2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons chopped

fresh coriander/cilantro

sea salt and caster/ granulated sugar, to taste

Serves 4– 6


In a large saucepan, add the beans with all of their other ingredients and 1 litre/4 cups of water, cover and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 11 /2 hours, or until soft. If using canned beans, cook for only 30 minutes. When they are cooked, discard the onion, (bell) pepper and bay leaf, then transfer a ladleful of beans to a bowl and mash them.

While the beans are cooking, make the sofrito. Heat the oil in another pan and fry the garlic for a few seconds, then tip in the onion and chopped red or yellow (bell) peppers and fry over low heat until soft. Add the cumin, oregano and bay leaf and cook for a few minutes together.

Put the halved red or yellow (bell) peppers directly over a gas flame or under a grill/broiler, skin-side towards the heat source. When the skin is blackened all over, put the peppers in a food bag for a few minutes. Take them out, remove the skin and chop the flesh.

Stir the mashed beans into the sofrito. Add the remaining cooked beans with their liquid and stir in the vinegar, sugar and salt (about 1 /2 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt should be just about right).

Combine the skinned and chopped red or yellow (bell) peppers with the rest of the soup and simmer everything together for a few minutes.

For the salsa, in a food processor, pulse the chilli/chile, shallot, garlic and vinegar to a purée. Add the chopped tomatoes, cumin and herbs and pulse again briefly. Season with salt and sugar to taste.

Serve the soup with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream and one of salsa.


You can find this recipe, plus other delicious, hearty recipes in our book Bowl Food.


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