Spicy Black Bean Soup

One morning into my second year in Seoul, I woke up drooling, having dreamed of tacos all night.  I was immediately saddened with the realization that taco fixings in Korea are far and few.  If I wanted to get anything that resembled a taco, I’d have to make at least an hour-long trek to Itaewon AKA American military base AKA my least favourite place in Korea.

I started to describe the tacos from my dream to my half-asleep and hungover friends when one of them chimed in with his eyes still closed, “We can get those”.  I’m pretty sure I scoffed in disbelief and was hurt that he would mess with my emotions.  He ensured me that there was a place.  It wasn’t long after that we hopped into a cab and made our merrily way to some American chain restaurant called, “On the Border”, which wasn’t too far from where we were living.

I mean, this place was by no means GREAT, but I was still brimming with absolute joy.  We all were.  My face hurt from smiling so much.

Douglas and I both have a love for Mexican food, so we started frequently going on dates here.  We had a VIP stamp card and we were working our way toward a 50% discount.  I don’t care what you think – discounts are super sexy.

Somewhere along our way to that discount, I got a nasty case of food poisoning that lasted for about 30 hours following a meal there.  Like clockwork, I proceeded to vomit straight into a bowl at my bedside every fifteen minutes, then every half hour, every hour, until it was once every few hours.  Poor Douglas would finally get to sleep only to wake up to the sounds of my retching, minutes later.  Without a word, he’d jump out of bed, empty and wash the bowl, put it back on the bedside table, close his eyes.  I’m pretty sure I resembled Regan from The Exorcist in those 30 hours, but Douglas was so patient.

So, here we are; living in Toronto, still together, still loving Mexican food.  No demonic possessions since.

Last weekend, I took many of our favourite Mexican flavours and combined them to make a soup.  It turned out really well and no one even puked!

I’ll never forget it, though.  It was worst bout of food poisoning I’ve ever experienced.

However, if you think for one second that my food poisoning stopped me from reaching that discount – you are dead wrong.

  • 3 cans black beans, drained
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2-3 jalapeños, minced (seeds and all)
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream
A spice blend that also can be used for taco meat seasoning.

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onions with some salt and pepper and cook for 5-10 minutes or until translucent.  Add the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes until fragrant.


Stir in the jalapeños, beans, lime juice, and all of the spices and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until beans are easily mashed with a potato masher.  Mash the mixture until you get a mushy texture.  This will make things a bit easier once it’s time to blend the soup.

IMG_1664                       IMG_1666

Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and stock to the pot.  Bring the soup to a boil, cover partially and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are mostly dissolved.  Add salt and pepper as needed.


Blend with an immersion blender or blend in small batches and return to the pot to reheat.  We made the mistake of testing out a new blender with this soup and poor Doug was directly in the line of fire when it exploded.

Bean soup everywhere! One of these days I promise I’ll get an immersion blender.

Top your bowls with a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro.  Serve with some tortilla chips on the side.

Serves 4 – 6.

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