First of all: Happy December! Can you believe it’s December already? It kinda freaks me out that life goes by so quickly… But at the same time it’s almost my favorite holiday: Christmas! Yay! I already started decorating a bit… (I wanted to do it sooner but my friend Linda forbade me saying I had to wait til after Thanksgiving and I obeyed like the good foreigner I am…)
Second, I haven’t seen you guys in a while (as in I only posted once last week!). We had a busy week last week with Thanksgiving – which was lovely! – and our weekend trip to Vermont, which was also lovely, but too quick. I wish I could have stayed in that winter wonderland for at least a whole week… But noooo! Time to get back to reality and to work. Ugh ugh!
So today it’s my first day taking the subway to work in 7 months because my husband got a new job and can’t give me a ride anymore! Boooo! And, to make it super fun, it is raining and freezing outside. :-( Not fun freezing like Vermont (because we were enjoying it by the fireplace) but wet and annoying freezing, especially because I forgot an umbrella and am wearing a light coat… Fun, huh?
So how does one get through a day like that? By knowing there’s a pot of hot delicious Black Bean Soup when I get home!! :-)
In Brazil, this Black Bean Soup – or Caldinho de Feijão, like we call it – is a must on cold days. You sip it and immediately your whole body feels warm and cozy! Hmmmmm! And it’s so flavorful too! Add some bacon on top and serve it with a few slices of french bread and it’s a very fulfilling meal.
It is also very common to see this soup served as an appetizer in parties, especially game parties (where friends gather to watch soccer!). Then it is usually served in little shot glasses or small glasses (so people can drink it without a spoon), accompanied by torresmo (pork rinds).
This soup is usually on the thicker side, but you can customize it according to your preferences by adding more or less water. I like it somewhat in the middle if I’m eating as a meal and a little thinner if I’m serving as an appetizer in a shot glass, just because it easier to drink it that way.
But thick or thin, this soup is absolutely delicious and once you try it, you will be making it all winter long. :-)
As you can see in the recipe below, I always cook my beans in a pressure cooker. You will not find a Brazilian that doesn’t own a pressure cooker. It makes life so much easier… I use it to cook beans, to make pot roast (pot roast in 30 minutes? Hell yeah!), to make dulce de leche (by cooking a can of sweet condensed milk). So pretty much anything you can do in a regular pot, a pressure cooker makes it faster! If you don’t own one, I highly recommend it. However, since I’m a nice person, I included directions to make this soup using a regular pot in the instructions below! ;-)
(This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you buy something using my link, I get a small commission. Enough to buy a pack of gum…)
Soak the beans overnight and change the water at least once.
Drain the beans and add them to the pressure cooker along with the 8 cups of water and the bay leaves.
Cook over high heat until you hear the pressure. Lower the heat to medium low and cook for 40-50 minutes or until the beans are soft. (If you don't have a pressure cooker, just simmer in a heavy cooking pot for 2 to 3 hours or until the beans are soft.)
In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the pancetta and fry until golden brown.
Add the olive oil and the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.
Transfer the pancetta/onion/garlic to the pot of beans and add the tabasco sauce, the chopped parsley and the cumin. Stir everything together.
Simmer, covered, over medium low heat for 20 minutes.
Using a hand blender (or doing in batches in a regular blender), blend the beans until you have a smooth soup. Add more water if necessary to obtain desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with fried pancetta/bacon and chopped parsley or green onions.