Beans and chocolate? I recently teased my friend Sara into identifying the odd ingredient in this soup, which she loved. I enjoyed watching her racking her brains, and didn’t feel any guilt about it: After all, she was working for food, and was kept guessing through a second bowl. PS, she never did identify it, she said all she could tell is that this was like no other bean soup she ever had. That’s the magic of chocolate!
Canned beans will work here just fine, as the soup has lots of fabulous flavors going for it.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 4 ribs celery, peeled and cut in thirds
- 1 large red pepper, seeded and quartered
- 1 bunch flat parsley, stems and all
- 1/2 small bunch cilantro, stems cut off
- 6 cups good quality canned black beans (2 large cans), drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 3 tablespoons bottled hot sauce
- 6 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground
- 3 quarts (12 cups) water
- 2/3 cup grated semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
Heat the oil in a heavy pot. Make the sofrito: In a food processor, coarsely grind the onion, garlic, celery, pepper, parsley and cilantro. Add ground mixture to the hot oil, and sauté until translucent. Add the beans, tomato paste, wine, hot sauce, bay leaves and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 30 minutes. Add the chocolate, cumin and oregano and cook for 15 minutes more. Adjust texture and seasonings. Serve hot.