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Cajun Black Bean Soup -- Perfect for an Election Party

This soup is spicy and, I think, reasonably authentic. It’s the distillation of a lot of tweaking various recipes and experimenting. Ideally you can do the soak and simmer thing with the beans but, perhaps surprisingly (perhaps not) canned beans are just fine. I have a preference for Bush’s (and hope it’s not the same family!). You can also make a veggie version using vegetable stock leaving out the various meats though it’s not as complex. The following recipe makes enough for six or more. Feel free to adjust.



2 or more cups of the Cajun “Holy Trinity” — onion (1 large), green pepper (1 large), celery (2 stalks) — all rough chop (if doing a vegetarian version of this dish use more of everything)

1 lb of dried black beans or 3 or 4 15 oz. cans of black beans

1 decent sized smoked ham hock (or 2 small)

1 lb andouille sausage (cut into small chunks)

1 or 2 T’s of Cajun spices — I make my own of roughly equal amounts of dried basil, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, powdered mustard, paprika (Hungarian), oregano, white pepper, black pepper. This makes a pretty “hot” mix so adjust to taste. If this is too much trouble, use Prudhomme’s.

2+ T’s of chopped cilantro

2 T’s flour

1 c chicken stock (more or less — you’ll know how much when you get to finishing it up)

Any or all of various garnishes: chopped red pepper, thin slices of scallions, finely chopped white onion, additional cilantro, sour cream, guacamole.


Cover ham hock with water. Toss in an onion (cut in half, leave skin), a carrot and a stalk of celery and boil for two or three hours. Let cool, discard veggies, remove all usable meat and cut into bite-sized pieces (yeah, it’s a pain in the arse but worth it).

Put beans in a large pot with 1/2 c chicken stock and warm gently. Add half the cilantro. After beans are warm you can puree half if you like a thicker soup.

In large skillet heat a T or two of canola oil and fry the ham hock bits till the pieces darken and crisp up a bit — remove and set aside.

In same pan fry the cut-up andouille sausage till the pieces darken and crisp up a bit — set aside.

In same pan add the chopped veggies and dust with the spices and cook till they start to darken (add oil if needed) — about 10 minutes or so.

Add flour and incorporate — cook a minute or two to get rid of the flour taste.

Add the remaining cilantro and the rest of chicken stock to the pan and scrape up the fond — how much stock depends on how thick it gets. You want it pretty sticky to give you the texture and consistency for the soup.

Add the veggie mix and meats to the beans and simmer (stirring from time to time) for an hour or two — adding stock if needed.

Serve in warmed bowls over rice with garnishes on the side.

If the soup is too thin use the old flour and chick-stock trick and incorporate as needed. If too thick just add more stock.

You can use chicken broth but I prefer stock. You can use different amounts of everything to change the balance of flavors — the dish is very forgiving. You can also start with a couple of ounces of bacon and use the fat to fry the other meats in.

Enjoy and keep a bottle of wine on hand to toast your candidate when she wins.

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