Cuban Black Bean Soup: How to Make This Smoky Classic

Whenever his family’s Cuban neighbor brought over a big pot of her black bean soup, Pat Murphy was happy. Dipping a spoon into her hearty recipe is one of his favorite comida memories from when he was growing up in Puerto Rico. Now that they live in Arizona, Pat and his wife Michelle Ezratty Murphy, one of our favorite Puerto Rican food cooks, knew they had to track down the original recipe — and here it is.

While bean dishes are plentiful and much loved across Latin America, his neighbor’s soup stands out for its unmistakably smoky and savory Cuban flavors. For one, it uses black beans. Second,it’s flavored with lime juice and cumin. And third: Ham hocks! In Puerto Rico, a stew or soup like this would typically call for diced ham. But this traditional Cuban recipe uses on-the-bone ham hocks, adding a distinctly authentic texture. Plus, its use of bone marrow gives the dish a deep, earthy flavor that will forever make it one of Pat’s favorite soups — in both cold and hot weather. Hungry for more Cuban dishes? The couple also loves this ropa vieja and these croquetas de jamon.

Find more criollo recipes from Pat and his wife Michelle here.

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