Black Bean Soup
11 months ago

Black Bean Soup

There’s something special about bean and ham soup. The beans cook up tender, but with bite, and the earthy cumin and rich ham add depth to the whole dish. Don’t skip the crème fraîche and green onions, which give the whole thing a bright, tangy flavor. Although this recipe simmers for a few hours, it’s quite simple to prepare. Make it for Sunday supper and save the rest for quick weeknight meals.

8 to 10 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes (plus, 8 hours to soak the beans)
Cook time: 2 ½ hours


24 ounces dried black beans, rinsed and picked through
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups diced yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 L&B Smokehouse Ham Shank
12 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
4 carrots, peeled and diced
Crème fraîche, for garnish
Sliced green onions, for garnish


  1. Place the beans in a large bowl, cover with 2 inches of water and soak overnight.
  2. Drain the beans. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. 
  3. Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender, 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the soaked beans, ham shank, chicken broth, cumin, basil, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the beans are very tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours. 
  5. Remove the ham shank and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the bone and shred into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bone. 
  6. Return the meat to the Dutch oven. Stir in the bell pepper, brown sugar and carrots. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with crème fraîche and sliced green onions.
  8. The soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or it can be stored in quart-sized freezer bags and frozen for up to 1 month. To reheat, remove one portion of soup from the bag and place in a large pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.

This recipe is brought to you by The Best of Byerly’s cookbook. Originally printed in 1985 with hundreds of popular recipes, the cookbook includes all types of foods, tastes and cooking styles. If you love this recipe, check out the entire cookbook!