Sopa negra

Sopa negra or black bean soup is a soup from Central America. I remember that the last time I ate it was when I escaped the hot city of León in Nicaragua, and went a day to the beach to get some fresh air. There I had a huge bowl of sopa negra for lunch. Although it was delicious, I still find it strange that I loved the soup so much despite the warm weather. I always associate soup with cold weather. That’s why I thought it’s a good time to try to make sopa negra to warm you feel all warm inside during this autumn.

Ingredients sopa negra

Ingredients (4 portions):

  • 2 cups of black beans
  • 3 garlic cloves, 2 of them finally chopped
  • 1 white onion finally chopped
  • 1 sweet pepper finally chopped
  • 100 grams of bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp of heavy cream
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh oregano
  • fresh coriander to taste, chopped

For the vegetarians, just leave the bacon out.

The name already gives it away: black beans are the main ingredient. It’s hard to find them, but here in Brussels I’ve found dried black beans in a shop selling African products. There must be a similar shop in your city.

Soak the black beans

Start the preparations a day before, because you’re going to need the time to soak the beans. Use 3 cups of water for 1 cup of dried beans. In this case it’s 6 cups of water and 2 cups of dried beans. Let them soak overnight.

Cook the black beans in a pot

The next day, throw away the water, and rinse the beans with clean water. If you’ve a pressure cooker put the beans in there. It will save you a lot of time. If not, use a big pot. Add 4 cups of water, 1 (whole) garlic clove, the oregano and the thyme. Use enough water to cover beans by about 2 fingers. Bring the pot to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer gently until the beans are tender. For the pressure cooker, it will take 30 – 40 minutes, and around an hour for a normal pot.

Use a stick blender to puree the beans

Strain out 2 cups of broth and 1 cup of the cooked beans. Place it in the food processor, or like I did, let it cool down and use a stick blender to puree the beans.

Fry the vegetables and bacon

Fry the bacon, add onion, the sweet pepper, cream, and at last the beans.

Cook over low heat until soup begins to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Break the eggs into the soup and cook for 10 more minutes.

Serve with 1 egg in a bowl, sprinkle fresh coriander on top and serve with bread or latin america style with tortilla.

Sopa negra or black bean soup

Día de Independencia in Central America

Día de IndependenciaDía de Independencia or independence day is a national holiday that’s celebrated in Central America on the 15th of September to commemorate the beginning of the war of independence. This war started on the 16th of September in 1810 in Guanajuato, Mexico, when the priest Miguel Hidalgo called for the end of the Spanish rule. With the grito de la independencia or the cry of independence, Hidalgo encouraged the people to revolt against the Spanish colonial rule. At that time Mexico and the other countries of Central America (except Panama) formed part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain established following the Spanish conquest in 1521. However, Mexico was the only country that fought for independence. The rebellion started by Hidalgo led to a long and bloody war which took a decade before Spain declared Mexico and the other Central American countries independent in 1821.

Independence and la patria

The start of the war is commemorated yearly in all Central American countries from Mexico until Costa Rica. While in most countries the focus is on parades, student activities, and assemblies, in Mexico día de independencia is a big fiesta with food, music, and fireworks. Because it’s all about the patria or the fatherland, the weeks before half of September national symbols arise everywhere. The public and national buildings are decorated, street vendors are selling national symbols in all kinds, and the public squares are cleaned and prepared for entertainment.

The Mexican fiesta

In Mexico on the evening of the 15th of September which is called el Día del Grito, the celebrations are started. Traditionally around 11 o’clock in the evening the president rings the bell of the national palace at the central square zócalo in Mexico City. After that he will speak the grito de dolores mentioning the names of the important heroes of the Mexican War of Independece, and the speech is ended shouting ¡Viva México! three times. Often the public adds cabrones to it. After this the president waves the Mexican flag followed by the playing and singing of the national anthem. Then it’s fiesta time, and the party continues until dawn. For the people without hangover or cruda, the following morning on the 16th of September which is the Day of Independence the military performs a parade starting from the zócalo and passing by Hidalgo Memorial and other main places in Mexico City.