black bean soup with pork & veggies

If you’re not a black bean lover, what are you waiting for? First, could they be more gorgeous? Especially after you’ve rinsed them – they could double for black onyx in a photo shoot – glossy, gleaming, perfection! And speaking of real gems – black beans more than live up to that title, in fact you could say that onyx is to gemstones as black beans are to legumes– impressive.

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If you’re looking for something to stick to your ribs, keep your dollars in your wallet and be on par with that little black dress in the versatility department – this would be on the short list. And if you’re looking for hearty, hot, smoky & firey without inviting a few cowboys to dinner – get yourself the fixin’s, add your own heart, heat, smoke and fire and you’ve got yourself a big ‘ole pot a cowboy heaven straight from a ranch in the heart of Mexico.

click here to jump down to the black bean soup with pork & veggies recipe

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1. First, the dried black beans.

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2. Give them a good rinse and voilà – edible gems.

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3. Chop the onions & garlic.

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4. Organize the oregano, cumin, bay leaves (and garlic).

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5. A little thyme.

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6. The secret ingredient – a couple of shakes of ground cloves.

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7. Another secret ingredient – liquid smoke. It will make the soup taste like it was made by cowboys – hot, smoky cowboys..

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8. And a big bad smoked pork hock rounds out the secret ingredients.

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9. Throw it all in your slow cooker.

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10. Add stock – or water if you used bouillon cubes or paste – I use paste, so that explain’s the blob on top of the onions.

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11. Stir it all around.

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12. Put on the lid and cook for 6-8 hours until the beans are creamy and dreamy.

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13. Wakey, wakey, rise & shine – lift the lid and this is what you’ll find.

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14. Get yourself a large bowl and fish out the pork hock – it will fall apart so stir around to make sure you’ve got it all, especially the bones.

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15. Admire your beans for a moment and get back to your big, bad pork hock.

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16. Separate the meat – discard the fat, skin and bones.

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17. And you’re left with gorgeous, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of smoky heaven.

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18. Pile them on your board and give ’em a rough chop.

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19. Take an immersion blender and give it a few turns around the pot to create a silky, creamy, dreamy  pot of goodness. Or put a couple of cups (or most of it) in a blender or food processor, hit purée, and return it to the pot.

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20. See? Silky, creamy, dreamy  pot of goodness.

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21. Add the meat back to the pot and give it a good stir.

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22. And there is your pot of black bean soup. You can dig in right now or add a few fresh crunchy bits for texture, flavour and interest.

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23. Like sliced scallions.

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24. Chopped peppers – green and red in particular.

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25. Frozen corn, nuke them for a minute to take the ice off.

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26. Add them to the soup pot.

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27. I love corn in black bean soup and the colour contrast is brilliant.

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28. Give it a good stir and leave on low for a half hour or so to heat through. Or ladle into bowls and heat in the microwave.

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29. Serve your soup and sprinkle with a few sliced scallions, chopped cilantro and a dollop of plain yogurt or light sour cream. And of course, pass the hot sauce!

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