the appetizer:

The Caribbean includes islands and countries as diverse as Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Antilles, Guadeloupe and Martinique, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and The Virgin Islands. Common foods like seafood, chicken and coconut, as well as recipes like jerk and callaloo, unite these islands into a heterogeneous culinary paradise.

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Black Bean Soup

1 pound dried black beans
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ham hock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar or sherry

Rinse the beans, and soak overnight in 4 quarts of water. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic and sauté over low heat for 10 minutes. Add beans and ham hock, and enough water to cover. Stir in tomato paste and seasoning (except for vinegar). Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Let cool slightly.

Using a blender, remove half of the cooked beans and purée smooth. Return to pot. Add vinegar or sherry and stir well. Serve soup over white rice and top with fresh minced onion and fresh cilantro.

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This page modified January 2007