Black beans have a fudgy texture and fruity depth to their flavour. Slow-cooked pork hock (shin) makes the soup rich and velvety, smoky with chipotle and warm with cumin.
This is proper peasant food; a good, cheap meal that feels really meaty and sustaining, even though you only get a small amount of pork with each portion.
- Naomi Devlin, nutrition expert, author, and River Cottage chef.
400g (14oz) dried black beans or 2 x 400g (14oz) tins black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon chicken, duck or bacon fat or lard
2 onions, finely chopped
1 large celery stick, finely chopped
350g (12oz) red peppers (
4–5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 small pork hock (or 800g/1¾lb pork ribs or 2 trotters)
1 teaspoon smoked chipotle pepper (or hot smoked paprika)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
4 tablespoons crème fraîche (or soured cream or live natural
2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes, quartered
Very large handful of coriander leaves
Cooking time: 3-3.5 hours
Preparation time: 30 minutes
How many for?
1. If you are using dried black beans, soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water. Drain and rinse the soaked beans, then put into a pan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 15 minutes, skimming off any froth that rises. Drain and rinse again, then set aside.
2. Melt the fat in a large pan, add the chopped vegetables, garlic, cumin seeds, bay leaves and pork hock and sauté gently for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, sweet and
3. Let down the crème fraîche with a little water, so that you can swirl it on top of the soup. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each portion with a swirl of crème fraîche, some cherry tomatoes and a scattering of coriander leaves. Add some toasted sourdough rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil or warm corn tortillas for hungrier souls.
The soup will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, or you can freeze leftovers for up to 3 months (simply defrost and reheat thoroughly before serving).