I still remember the taste of the Black Beans and Rice I had at a restaurant in Ybor City. We were visiting my grandparents in St. Pete Beach. It was a very difficult time for our family and our mom decided that several weeks in Florida were needed. As a parent now, I can only imagine what was happening in her world that caused her to make that decision. Whatever it was, it must have been awful for her. And sadly, she is no longer with us so I can’t talk to her about it. The difficult times she experienced trying to raise five kids largely alone make me appreciate all she did for us. Of course, typical of a kid and then a young woman with my own life and issues, I never said those words to her. I regret that very much.
Back to the restaurant and the Black Beans and Rice. Delicious. I remember the bite of the vinegar and the saltiness of the ham. I had never had Black Beans and Rice before. We are descendants of Eastern Europeans, and beans and rice weren’t in our family cuisine.
Thankfully, they are now. My Faithful Assistant will make them as an after school snack! For years, I have been on a quest for the quintessential Black Bean Soup. I scour the internet looking for something easy and flavorful all the time and after reading dozens of recipes, I have come up with one that I think combines the best of them all into one super simple recipe.
Easiest Black Bean Soup Ever
3 cans black beans
2 cups salsa
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent.
- Combine everything in a slow cooker or stock pot.
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Did you notice I didn’t say drain and rinse the beans? I read up on that too. It’s water, salt and starches from the beans and can be a nice way to give your Black Bean Soup a little thickness.
As the soup heated and all the aromas started filling the house, I was in heaven. The smells didn’t bring back bad memories of our struggles. They brought back memories of new experiences, the warm Florida sun, the beach, and many other things. I think it’s safe to say that I will never suffer as a parent the way my mother must have. She had a very difficult life that was sprinkled here and there with some brightness. I’m going to choose to remember the brightness.