Brazilian black bean soup

Brazilian black bean soup

Sopa de frijoles negro

Smith & Daughters
Bonnie Savage

Make a big pot of this at the weekend and use it as a base for a million variations throughout the week. Feel free to cook the beans without soaking them first. It works – we do it every day. You can soak them overnight if you want, but all we know is, cooking beans from dry works brilliantly. If there’s any tip to cooking them, just don’t add salt. Do NOT do it. It makes them hard on the outside and will take longer to cook.


Quantity Ingredient
440g dried black beans
or 2 x 425g tins black beans, drained
2 fresh bay leaves
60ml olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced, (seeds removed for a milder taste)
1 green capsicum, finely diced
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 litre chicken stock
125g Sofrito
or 125g tinned diced tomatoes
large handful coriander, roughly chopped, plus extra, to serve
1 lime, juiced
your favourite hot sauce, to taste
see method for ingredients, to serve
or 1/2 avocado, roughly chopped
Pickled onions (& other stuff), to serve
tortilla chips, to serve


  1. If using dried beans, place them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 bay leaf and bring the beans to the boil (do NOT add salt at this point). Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for approximately 1 hour until slightly underdone (they should still have some bite to them). Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, jalapeño, capsicum, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add the spices, oregano and remaining bay leaf and cook for a further 1 minute.
  3. Add the drained cooked or tinned beans to the pan, then pour over the chicken stock and sofrito or tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the beans are very soft, approximately 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer half of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Pour back into the pan and stir well. For a thinner soup, only blend one-third of the beans, and to use as a burrito or taco filling, blend three-quarters of the beans.
  5. Return to the heat, then add the coriander, lime and hot sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust, if necessary.
  6. Top the soup with the avocado cream or chopped avocado, pickled cabbage and a sprinkling of chopped coriander. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.
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