Cuban Black Bean Soup with Sofrito and Smoked Turkey

We first came across this recipe in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s food section back in 2001 or 2002.  We made it a few times, and then, lost the recipe.  Just this week, I checked out a cookbook from our library (The Bean Bible by Aliza Green) and I came across it again.  I had to make it.

I made this a few times during the “lost years” and made some adaptations.  This is a blend of the original (page 122 of the cookbook) and what I’ve done.  Bean soups are very flexible.  Have fun!


Black Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey

1 lb. dry black beans

1 onion, peeled and stuck with 8 whole cloves

3 bay leaves

1 lb. smoked turkey thighs

4 cups chicken stock

4 cups water (more, if needed)


1 onion, diced

2 red peppers, finely diced

1 poblano pepper, finely diced

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon paprika

15 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons malt vinegar

salt and pepper (to taste)


Sort through the beans and pull out any stones, “bad” beans and other debris that might be part of the mix.  Place them in a colander, rinse and drain.  Add them to a large soup pot along with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.  After that, drain them and add them back to the soup pot.


Add the onion (studded with the cloves), bay leaves, turkey thighs, chicken stock and the water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Cook on low heat until the beans are soft and tender (about 1 1/2 hours).  After that, remove the onion and bay leaves. Remove the turkey thighs, set them aside and let them cool.


In a skillet, add the olive oil and the paprika.  Let them blend and then add the onion, peppers, garlic, tomatoes and vinegar.  Saute until soft.

Add the sofrito to the black beans and simmer on a low temperature for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


I like to serve this with a bit of crema mexicana or some sour cream along with some bread or tortillas.  A salad is nice too.


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