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Brazilian Black Bean Soup


Dark Beans Soups Soups & Stews

black bean soup in a serving bowl with onion and hot sauce

Sometimes you want a big old samba and other times, a Bossa Nova trio fits the bill. Sometimes you want to go all out and make a massive Brazilian feijoada and  other times, a gentle soup like this is just what's needed. You can find many variations of this traditional dish, known as Caldinho de Feijão, throughout Brazil, especially in local botecos (bars). 

This recipe come to us from our friend, José Rivelino D. Santos Silva. 

  • 1 smoked ham hock (about 11⁄2 pounds)
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound uncooked Rancho Gordo Midnight Black beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped (a handful reserved for garnish)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh lime wedges for serving
  • Malagueta hot sauce or habanero hot sauce for serving


  1. The day before making the soup, combine the ham hock, chicken broth, and bay leaf in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the ham hock is cooked through, about an hour, skimming any foam that comes to the surface. Remove the ham hock and let cool. Refrigerate the broth and ham hock separately.
  2. Soak the beans in cool water for 6 to 8 hours. Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the soaking liquid.
  3. In a large pot, combine the beans, ham hock, 2 cups ham stock, the 1 cup reserved soaking water, and additional water to cover the beans by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook the beans gently until very soft, about 2 hours. Remove the ham hock and let cool, then remove and shred the meat and add it back to the pot.
  4. In another pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes, being careful not to brown them too much. Add a cup of cooked beans to the onion-garlic mixture and mash until combined. Add salt to taste. Stir the onion-garlic- bean mixture back into the pot of beans. Mash the even beans further if you prefer a smoother consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more liquid if needed for a soupy consistency. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh onion, lime, and hot sauce.

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