Living in Florida has its benefits; even during the dead of winter the temperature is almost balmy, there are plenty of white, sandy beaches and azure blue waterways, and we have a strong Cuban influence in the culture and cuisine.
Elderly gentlemen still roll cigars by hand, café con leches can be purchased at Cuban coffee shops for a fraction of the prices of a latte from Starbucks, and Latin spice livens up the food.
My homage to the Cuban culture here in Florida is this Cuban Black Bean Soup. It is a pretty fabulous gluten free, vegan whole meal soup as is or if you still have some turkey left over, it is a tasty way to use it up. I start with a bag of Hurst Family Harvest Chipotle Lime Black Bean Soup mix (love their gluten free, vegan flavor packets – so easy!) add some red peppers, onion, tomatoes and rice and top the whole thing off with some fried plantains, avocado cream, and cilantro.
Whether your winters are mild or harsh, this soup will warm the body and feed the soul!
Gluten Free Cuban Black Bean Soup Recipe
1 bag Hurst Family Harvest Chipotle Lime Black Bean Soup Mix
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white onion, diced
4 gloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup rice
2 cups cooked turkey or chicken (optional)
Salt & pepper
Hot sauce (optional – to taste)
2 plantains, sliced about ¼ inch thick diagonally
¼ cup sour cream or dairy free sour cream
½ cup cilantro leaves
Reserve the flavor packet from the bean soup mix and soak the beans in water for 8 – 24 hours. Rinse and drain the beans.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and red peppers and cook for another minute. Add the beans, the flavor packet and 8 cusp of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Add the rice and continue to cook for 40 minutes or until the beans are tender. Add more water if necessary. Stir in the turkey or chicken (if using) and cook for another 5 minutes or until heated through. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
Pour about ¼ inch of vegetable oil in a small skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Fry the plantain slices in the hot oil in batches until golden brown, about 2 minutes per sides. Drain on paper towels.
Mash the avocado with the juice of the lime and the sour cream.
Serve the soup topped with fried plantains, avocado cream and cilantro leaves.
A gluten free recipe that serves 6 – 8 people.
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