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Published February 03, 2010, 12:00 AM

Halgrimson: Re-creating Campbell’s Black Bean Soup

When I was growing up, Campbell’s Black Bean Soup was a favorite at our house.

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM

When I was growing up, Campbell’s Black Bean Soup was a favorite at

our house.

My mom served it with a sieved hard-cooked egg on top and later I did the same from time to time.

But the last time I was at a grocery store I couldn’t find the soup on the store’s shelves. Apparently Campbell’s no longer makes Black Bean Soup, so I have to make my own.

I use a recipe that I got from The Forum in 1979. I often made the soup for my parents when I visited them at their winter home in Green Valley, Ariz. We put it in a Thermos and made ham sandwiches with whole, canned green chiles instead of lettuce and off we’d go to picnic.

Sometimes we’d go birding in the Santa Rita Mountains or to the artists’ colony in Tubac, Ariz. Other trips were to the Spanish colonial mission in a National Historical Park at Tumacacori, Ariz., where the Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. is also located. The aroma in their store was heavenly, and I’d buy chile powder and dried chiles to bring home. I still have a suitcase that smells of chiles.

I like to add chopped red bell pepper and grated carrots to the sautéing vegetables. Corn kernels or crushed Roma tomatoes are also good. If a ham hock isn’t used, crumbled bacon works. And I always add a tablespoon of chile powder. Grated cheese, chopped cilantro leaves or jalapeño chiles may be used to garnish the soup.

Black Bean Soup

1 ham hock

12 ounces black beans

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large onions, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons white vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 hard-cooked eggs, diced

Cooked rice

In a large pot, cook ham hock in water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer hock, covered, until meat is falling off of the bones.

Remove ham hock to a colander set over a large bowl. Remove meat and chop. Discard fat. Strain stock into the bowl, add meat and refrigerate overnight.

Wash beans by rinsing with water several times. Pour water off and beans to ham stock and soak overnight.

The following day, skim stock of collected fat. In a pot big enough to hold the soup, heat olive oil and sauté garlic, onion and celery until softened. Pour stock with meat and beans into the pot and cook until the beans are done.

Cool and puree half of the beans and return to soup to thicken it. To serve, sprinkle each bowl with chopped egg and serve with rice. Serves 4.

Quick Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon good olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 cans (1-pound each) black beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

4 cups water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toppings, optional

Tortilla chips

Heat oil in a large pot. Sauté onions over moderate heat until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until onion is lightly golden.

Add beans, lemon juice, cumin, oregano, parsley and water, bring to a simmer. Using a potato masher, squash some of the beans to thicken the soup. Cook about 10 minutes.

Garnish with chopped chives (or scallions) and sour cream or plain yogurt. Serve with chips. Makes 6 servings.


Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com

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