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Cuban Black Bean Soup

Cuban Black Bean Soup with Ham Hocks & Rice

This is a traditional soup served in Cuba and Puerto Rico along with many other countries. My recipe is made with ham hocks and it’s served with a short grain rice. Red wine vinegar is sprinkled on at the table! It’s delish! I’ve made it for years!

The recipe is based on Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook recipe. It was published in 1975 and is a collection of The New York Times best recipes from their food pages

I was introduced to this soup in 1978 when I visited my cousin Donna Rountree and her family in San Juan Puerto Rico. She shared this cookbook with me. Donna entertained a lot and loved to use this cookbook! Her husband Dekle and daughter Jodie enjoyed her cooking too.

To serve the soup pour it hot into bowls. Then top with hot rice that’s been patted into a 1/3 cup measuring cup or something similar. Invert it onto the soup. Sprinkle with cilantro. Sprinkle with red wine vinegar at the table!

Enjoy! And let me know what you think!

Sautéed onion, green pepper and garlic
The sofrito: onion, green pepper & garlic with tomato & seasoning
Ham Hocks have a Rind, Meat & Bone
A Ham Hock After Cooking in Soup
The ham cut from the rind and bone
Black Bean Soup
Hot Rice Patted into 1/3 Measuring Cup


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 12 cups water
  • 3 ham hocks
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Cooked short grain rice
  • Fresh chopped cilantro


  1. Place the beans in a bowl and cover with cold water to a depth of 1 inch above the top of the beans. Soak overnight. Drain.
  2. Add the olive oil to a heated large cooking pot. Add onion, garlic and green pepper. Sauté over low heat till onion is wilted.
  3. Add oregano, tomatoes and cilantro. Cook 2 minutes. This is the sofrito.
  4. Add the ham hocks, beans, and water to the cooking pot. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cover. Cook for 1 1/2-2 hours or until beans are thoroughly tender.
  5. Remove the ham hocks to a cutting board. Cut off the rind and discard. Cut off the meat and return to the pot. Discard the bones.
  6. Simmer another few minutes
  7. Dilute the soup with broth to your desired consistency if needed. The soup thickens with time and refrigeration.
  8. Serve piping hot in bowls
  9. Take the hot rice and press into a 1/3 or 1/2 cup measuring cup. Invert over bowl of soup and tap out. Make sure it’s hot rice. Cold rice won’t pop out of the cup
  10. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Add red wine vinegar at the table
  11. Voila!
Cuban Black Bean Soup!

2 responses »

  1. Dave shared this with us back in the early 90’s. We LOVE it still!! Wouldn’t change a thing. It’s PERFECT! Love to you both!


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