I ran across Pati Jinich's recipe for Black Bean Soup in her Mexican Today Cookbook, which I highly recommend.
I had some Mayocoba beans already cooked so I thought I'd go ahead and use them, but what I really wanted was to try the masa dumplings.
Her original recipe is the one posted
Here's what you need
Vegetable oil, white onion, garlic, chiles, or dried red pepper flakes (not shown) tomatoes, beans, broth, masa, cheese, and mint.
The recipe calls for chilis de arbol, I didn't have any so I decided to add a pinch of red pepper flakes. I also didn't have any fresh tomatoes so I drained a 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes, reserving the juice.
In the saucepan goes the oil and onion, once the onion is cooked down a bit add the garlic and the tomatoes. The tomatoes need to be cooked down to a soft thick paste, don't skimp on this step. Then add the beans with some of their broth.
Add the juice that was drained from the canned tomatoes to chicken or vegetable broth and add to the saucepan. You can blend the soup in a blender for a smooth consistency or use an immersion blender if you want more texture to the soup.
For the dumplings mix the masa with water making a coarse dough. Add the mint and cheese. Roll the dough into about 1" balls and add to the soup.
I varied from the recipe by using Mayocoba beans, red pepper flakes, canned tomatoes, and feta cheese. It turned out delicious and I will for sure make it again. I might even try and follow the recipe next time.
Black Bean Soup With Masa Dumplings
1 cup canola or safflower oil
½ cup chopped white onion
1 garlic clove
2 chiles de árbol, stemmed and coarsely chopped (seeded if desired)
8 ounces ripe tomatoes (about 2 medium), cored and chopped
Kosher or sea salt
3 cups Basic Black Beans with ½ cup of their cooking broth
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought
1 cup corn masa flour, such as Maseca (preferably masa mix for tamales, but masa for tortillas will also work)
¾ cup water
4 ounces queso fresco, farmer’s cheese, or ricotta, crumbled (about ½ cup loosely packed)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
Mexican crema, for garnish (optional)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy pot or casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until it has completely softened, the edges are golden brown, and there is a toasted, sweet aroma wafting from the pot. Add the garlic and chiles and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant and has colored and the chiles have softened a bit and intensified to a darker and more burnt red. Stir in the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes have cooked down to a soft, thick paste.
- Add the beans with their broth and 4 cups of the chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer for about 10 minutes. The beans should be completely soft and the broth thick and soupy.
- Meanwhile, prepare the masa for the dumplings: In a medium bowl, combine the corn masa flour with the water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Knead together with your hands. The dough will be very coarse and seem dry. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the cheese, and mint and mix together until the dough is very soft and homogenous, about 1 minute.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until completely smooth. Cover the blender lid with a towel to avoid splashes. Pour back into the pot and stir in the remaining 4 cups broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low.
- To form the dumplings: For each one, scoop up enough masa to make a 1-inch ball, roll it between your hands (moisten your hands if the dough sticks), and gently drop into the soup. Once all the masa balls have been shaped and added to the soup, partially cover the pot and let the soup simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through. They will thicken the soup as they simmer. Taste the soup for salt and add more if necessary.
- Serve hot, garnishing each bowl with a spoonful of crema, if desired.
Variation: This soup will be much more delicious if you use home-cooked black beans, but if you are in a time crunch, feel free to use canned. Two 15-ounce cans plus an extra ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth or water can stand in for homemade.
Mexican Today: Pati Jinich cookbook
And that's that!