It is cold again in Minneapolis and once again spring snow is predicted. Soup is just the thing in this kind of weather but, we are craving lighter, fresher spring foods. This soup is a great half way point. The ham and beans are hearty while the lime and cilantro give it a bright, almost tropical, flavor. If you've got some ham leftover from this past Easter, I can't think of a better use for it.
Cuban Black Bean and Ham Soup
1 T olive oil
3/4 c chopped yellow onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 c chopped cooked ham
zest from half a lime
2 15oz cans black beans (do not rinse or drain)
2 c chicken stock
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 t hot sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 t cumin
juice of one lime
sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 3 - 4 minutes. Add the ham and sauté another minute. Stir in the lime zest, beans (including liquid), stock, tomatoes (including juices), hot sauce and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 45 minutes.
Add the lime juice and cilantro. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt if desired.
4 - 5 servings.
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