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Smoky Black Bean Soup with Winter Squash

Serves 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands
  • 1 small (about 1 pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 ripe (black) plantain, cut in 1/2-inch half moons
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, or more as needed
  • juice of 1 lime, or more as needed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving


  1. In a large, heavy soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and celery, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in soaked beans, ham hock, and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the beans and hock are just tender, about 60 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, squash, and plantain and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the hock, cool, and shred the meat from the bone.
  7. Transfer one-quarter of the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  8. Stir the puree back into the soup, add the ham pieces, and season with salt and lime juice.

Serve hot with cilantro and sour cream on top.

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