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Black Bean Soup

This recipe by Chef Rick Mahan is a rather spicy soup. If a milder version is desired, reduce the amount of Serrano chilies and chili powder.


1 pound black beans, washed and soaked for 2 hours
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1 to 3 serrano chilies, seeded and minced 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 1/2 quarts water
Garnish: sour cream, salsa and cilantro sprigs


  1. Drain black beans; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed soup pot.
  3. Add onion, celery, carrots, chilies, red bell peppers and garlic. Sauté five minutes or until beginning to brown.
  4. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook two more minutes.
  5. Add remaining ingredients, including soaked beans. Bring to simmer and cook slowly 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish each bowl of soul with sour cream, salsa and cilantro sprigs.