I just finished a delicious and nutritious lunch that I couldn’t wait to share with you. But before I do I would like to thank you for supporting my blog. It feels good getting your feedback, so please continue to let me know what you thought about the recipe.
Now back to the recipe: could you believe that the first time I had black beans was sometime in my twenties in a Mexican restaurant in New York. I don’t think we had black beans in Israel when I was a kid. The first time I was introduced to them I was a bit skeptical because I thought that the restaurant added squid ink or something to the dish that made them black. As soon as I learned that they’re naturally black and tried them there was no way back. Actually over the years they became my favorite beans (and Alex’s too).
Of all things, I found this recipe in an Israeli cookbook, written by two beautiful Israelis women, who are the owners of one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv, Orna & Ella, (the restaurant is named after them.) If you plan to visit Israel, write down this name. The food in the restaurant is made with local, seasonal ingredients, and the cakes are divine!
I didn’t follow the recipe precisely because I never do and also because I was missing some of the ingredients, like the green and red peppers. The simple way to cook black beans is to soak them overnight then cook them with water (or vegetable stock if you like), garlic, thyme, bay leaf and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the salt half way through, not in the beginning (it slows down their cooking).
Black Bean Soup
- 2 cups of black beans, soaked over night
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium red or yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 -3 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 2½ cups vegetable stock
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Sea salt (about 1½ teaspoons)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Chili flakes (optional)
- Lime wedges (optional)
- Green rice (optional, recipe below)
- Rinse the beans and put them into a soup pot filled with water (about 8 cups). Add the bay leaves and cook between 45–90 minutes, or until the beans are soft.
- Meanwhile, chop the onion, garlic and the oregano leaves. Put the olive oil in a sauce pan and turn the heat on medium. Add the onion, oregano and spices and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the sautéed onion, garlic, oregano and spices into the beans with the vegetable stock and continue to cook until the beans are tender, almost falling apart, for about 20 minutes.
- While the soup is cooking, prepare the rice.
- Serve in a bowl with the green rice over and a quick drizzle of olive oil, some salt if necessary, chili flakes and lime.
Green Basmati Rice
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1¼ cups water
- Handful cilantro or parsley or both (optional)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Bring the water and the salt to a rapid boil in a medium pot or a sauce pan.
- Meanwhile, put the rice in a fine colander and wash it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Another way is to soak it in cold water for a few minutes, then drain and soak it again, until the water is not white anymore.
- Stir the rice into the boiling water. Bring the water with rice to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid, wrapped in clean kitchen towel (to absorb the water drops). Don’t lift the lid while the rice is cooking, so the steam won’t escape! After 12 minutes, take off the lid. If there is no more water in the pan and the rice is soft (but not too soft), it is done. Otherwise, put the lid back on and cook for another 2–3 minutes.
- Let the rice rest with the lid on for at least 5 minute before you serve it.
- Add the herbs to the rice and mix with a fork. Correct seasoning if needed and serve with the soup.