Becky Luigart-Stayner-Jan Gautro
10 servings

Inspired by his Cuban mother's black bean soup, Chef Douglas Rodriguez of DeLaCosta restaurant in Chicago developed the robust flavor in this recipe for people who didn't have money to spend on meat for stock. Here we use both fresh and dried oregano because each imparts a different flavor to the final dish.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place bay leaves and beans in a Dutch oven. Add 12 cups water to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, chopped onion, and shallots to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in cumin, dried oregano, and fresh oregano; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Place vegetable mixture in a blender; add remaining 1/2 cup water. Puree until smooth.

Step 3

Add vegetable mixture, sugar, and salt to beans; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Combine avocado and juice; toss gently. Ladle 3/4 cup bean mixture into each of 10 bowls; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons avocado mixture, about 3 tablespoons red onion, 2 tablespoons ham, about 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, about 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 teaspoon pumpkinseed kernels, and about 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño pepper. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Ratings & Reviews


May 10, 2016
Alright, my parents are Cuban and it infuriates me whenever a Cuban dish gets Mexicanized, which is practically ALL THE TIME!!!!!  I only eat my parents' black beans because theirs are better than anyone else's and are ACTUALLY CUBAN!!!  But I decided to take a glance at this recipe just out of curiosity and, of course, as I unfortunately expected, IT WAS MEXICANIZED!!! Earth to every single cook out there, JALAPEÑO PEPPERS, AND ALL OTHER SPICY PEPPERS, ARE NOT USED IN CUBAN FOOD!!!  They are used in Mexican food!!!  And most of the toppings listed in this recipe are used in Mexican dishes as well.  This is not a Cuban black bean soup, it is a Mexican black bean soup!!!  I was born in California and have lived here all my life and I am sick and tired of the absolute ignorance Americans have when it comes to the different Hispanic cultures and food and turning everything from other Hispanic cultures to Mexican!  Mexican food is spicy and Cuban food is not spicy!  Learn the difference!!!  And another issue, Cuban food is NOT bland.  It is just not spicy.  There is a difference between heat and flavor!  Cuban food has flavor but not heat.  Simply adding a bunch of hot peppers to every damn food you eat does NOT make it flavorful!  I, for one, do not like very spicy food and cannot understand why Americans feel this need to add a damn hot pepper to every non-Mexican Hispanic dish!  This is based on sheer ignorance and thinking that every non-Mexican Hispanic food is just like Mexican food.  If anyone ever comes across a dish, recipe, or food product that is described as Cuban but has jalapeño peppers or other spicy peppers in it, then IT IS A MEXICANIZED FRAUD!  

Vicuska's Review

January 21, 2014
The soup was just ok, and none of us was crazy about it. Despite the wide number of ingredients, and the use of chicken stock instead of water, the soup was still missing something.

pheimill's Review

February 16, 2012
this recipe not helping Cuban foods reputation, which is it's a little bland. also, this recipe not cheap to make, with all the special items.

Stephanie522's Review

December 22, 2011
Not my all time favorite recipe from this site but still pretty good. I do agree it is a little bland,however I know I like things saltier/spicier than average. I made exactly as is and added mexican blend cheese and a scoop of rice. It was tasty enough to me to not throw out but I'll definitely try to tweak it next time to get a little more kick!

gholden's Review

March 21, 2011
READ the recipe: 2 teaspoons of salt for 10 people!!! of course the soup is BLAND!!! This is a terrible recipe. Also, beans must be soaked before cooking. Do not bother making this soup.

ChefAmandaLynn's Review

January 14, 2011
I added an additional tablespoon of salt, otherwise it would have been too bland. I also do not care for most of the reccomned toppings so I served it with just cilantro and grated pepper jack cheese. I thought it was excellent.

mtalbott's Review

April 05, 2010
I love this dish, it is perfect for a lazy sunday night dinner. I do add mutigrain chips and monteray jack to the toppings and it is so yummy.

lindsayF's Review

March 25, 2009
This was great! My friend's baby kept signing "more" to keep getting a spoonful. I doctored up mine with jalapenos, cilantro, onions, ham, tomatoes and cheese, my one friend likes things plain and added ham and cheese, she was thankful it wasn't spicy. My other friend chose to go more vegetarian and liked it with cheese cilantro and onion. SOAK THE BEANS overnight before you even start. I have made it 100% the recipe before and it was great. This time, I did add chicken bullion and 2 cloves garlic to the 2 1/2 hour simmer. The bullion was an afterthought, I would just use some stock instead of all water next time. I added more cumin and some pepper, red pepper flakes, and ground coriander to the spice mix. Toppings are ingredients, not options, unless you like it plain. :) yum! Recommend the coconut banana bread with lime glaze for dessert!

MooAtU2's Review

November 21, 2008
To everyone who said it tasted bland without the toppings... that's the whole point! If you don't have the toppings, don't make the dish. My boyfriend and I really enjoyed this. Next time, I won't make so much of it at once, though!