RSS Feed

Tag Archives: The New York Times Cookbook

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!

Chili with Ground Beef

Chili Served Over Pasta & Topped with Cheese

Craig Claiborne wrote The New York Times Cookbook in 1975. It is a collection of the best recipes from The New York Times food pages from the previous decade. This recipe comes from that book. He called it Chili con Carne with Ground Meat.

My cousin Donna Rountree introduced me to this book in 1978 when I visited she and her family at their apartment in San Juan Puerto Rico where she lived with her husband Dekle and daughter Jodie. Donna did a lot of entertaining and she loved this cookbook!

I substitute olive or vegetable oil for the bacon fat and use 2-28 ounce cans tomatoes instead of 1 can with water. I find the best results with a very lean ground beef that’s at least 90% lean such as Laura’s brand. I also serve it over pasta and top with grated cheese. I’m also flexible with quantities of onion, green pepper, garlic and seasonings. Use your own judgement

Let me know what you think. It’s a very meaty chili and has no beans!! Be careful with the heat of the chili powder you choose. Some are extremely hot. I use a mild heat chili powder. Everyone can add more heat to their own bowls!

When you serve each bowl of chili over pasta, everyone can each add their own chopped raw tomato, chopped lettuce, avocado, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro and/or hot pepper flakes.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green pepper
  • 3 pounds 90-93% lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2-28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste with garlic, optional
  • Serve with chopped raw tomatoes, chopped lettuce, sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped cilantro, hot pepper flakes, avocado if desired
  • Serve over small pieces cooked pasta


  1. Pour oil into a hot large deep cooking pot. Add onion and green pepper and cook over medium to low heat until onion is wilted
  2. Add meat. Using a heavy metal spoon cook and chop up beef to break up lumps
  3. Add garlic and black pepper and stir to blend
  4. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin and celery salt. Stir and add vinegar
  5. Add tomatoes and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Add chili paste if desired. I usually don’t
  6. Heat to a boil while stirring. Cover and lower heat to a simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Voila! Serve over pasta. Add some fresh toppings too!

Chili con Carne with Ground Meat

Beef Chili with Butter Beans
Ingredients for Chili

This recipe is from Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook published in 1975. He was a famous food journalist, cookbook author and restaurant critic.

I was just out of college when I visited my cousin Donna and her husband Dekle in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he worked for a pharmaceutical company. She enjoyed cooking and entertaining. This was her favorite cookbook at the time in the late 1970s. They were a successful power couple and they lived a fast, furious and tragic life. Memorable people who loved life, good food, family and friends

I use 2 pounds of ground beef instead of Craig Claiborne’s 3 pounds. I also add 1 of beans.

Sometimes I use beef that has been ground only once. It’s coarser and chewier and often made specifically for chili. I definitely use 90% lean beef

The type and freshness of your seasonings make an ordinary recipe extraordinary! We recently discovered the brand of spices called Morton & Bassett San Francisco. Very flavorful and aromatic! Another good spice company is Penzey’s which is available online and in the Penzey’s brick and mortar shops

If you like your chili especially spicy, add more chili powder!


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, broken in pieces (Cento San Marzano brand is my fav!) it’s deep rich color and flavor make a better sauce!
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can beans, drained (black beans, butter beans, cannellini beans, or northern beans)
  • Pasta, bite size pieces such as rigatoni, farfalle, or elbow, cooked
  • Cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add oil
  2. Sauté onion and green pepper until wilted
  3. Add the meat. Cook and break up lumps with large spoon
  4. Add garlic and seasonings. Stir and add the vinegar. Simmer on low a few minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  6. Add beans and simmer 5 minutes
  7. Serve over pasta and top with grated cheddar cheese
  8. Our family has enjoyed this for decades!