Black Bean Soup

2008 Mar/Apr

This soup was a favourite at Nadia and Gustavo Yelamo’s restaurant, The Latin Corner. It’s Gustavo’s mother’s recipe.


  • 2 c. dried black beans, rinsed
  • 2 whole cloves (or a pinch of ground cloves)
  • 1/4 t. ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 c. water
  • 2 T. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt, or to taste
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
  • 1/2 c. crema (garnish) available at Mexican/Latin American stores
  • Salsa (recipe follows)


Combine beans, cloves, cumin, bay leaf, garlic and water in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for at least 3 hours, or until beans are soft. Keep the beans covered with water. If you need more water, use boiling, not cold water.

Remove from the burner and remove cloves and bay leaf. Don’t discard the water. Mash beans against the side of the stockpot with a wooden spoon until about a quarter of the beans are mashed. This will contribute to the creamy texture of the soup. (You can also do this in a blender.) Stir in the brown sugar, salt and olive oil.


Prepare Salsa

  • 1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lime juice to taste
  • Salt and pepper


Mix all ingredients together.

Divide soup among bowls, garnish with chopped egg, crema and salsa. Serves 4 as an appetizer (or 2 as a main course with salad and corn bread).