How was everyone’s Valentine’s Day? Or how was your Single Awareness Day? Whichever one you celebrate. Matt and I are actually celebrating Valentine’s Day tonight, we both were completely bushed after a long day at work yesterday, so we decided to postpone our nice dinner we were planning. I’m looking forward to it!
I’ve been perusing my list of recipes in the “to blog soon” queue, and I realized that nothing really screams Valentine’s Day in any way. So I figured this soup was close enough, because the recipe originally comes from the cookbook Matt gave me for Valentine’s Day last year. So it’s appropriate for the occasion in a roundabout way!
Over the past year or so, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with Cuban food. There used to be a little Cuban take-out restaurant in my neighborhood but they went under. So that was probably my best and most thorough introduction to the cuisine. Then, last May I visited Miami beach for Matt’s and my wedding anniversary and we ate pretty much nothing but Cuban food while we were down there. Cuban cuisine is so flavorful and so delicious! If you’ve never tried it, I highly advise correcting that soon.
Cuban food is spicy but not hot; it’s kind of like a third cousin of Mexican food, with many of the same ingredients but without the chiles. It has the same robustness and the same humility though. I would venture that if you like Mexican, you’ll quickly become a fan of Cuban food.
Source: adapted from Eating Cuban by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacob
1 cup chopped bacon
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans with their liquid
2 cups beef or chicken stock, or a combination of both
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Drizzle in a little olive oil. Add the bacon and saute until browned and crisped. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Drain off all but 2 tbs of the fat.
Add the onion to the pot and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Now add the bell peppers, garlic, cumin, and dried oregano and continue to cook until the peppers are softened, another 5 to 6 minutes.
Place the onion mixture (called a sofrito in Cuba) in the blender, along with the brown sugar, vinegar, and 1 can of beans. Puree until smooth. Return the puree to the stockpot and stir in the remaining can of beans, the stock, and the reserved crispy bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cilantro.