I want you to understand that cocoa was used in cooking long before it was loaded with vanilla and sugar. This recipe will surprise you, as the cocoa adds an interesting bit of depth to a good black-bean soup. Chocolate freaks will not recognize this flavor, but they will love it!


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large green sweet bell pepper, cored and halved
  • 2/3 cup peanut oil or salad oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 small green hot pepper, halved and seeded
  • 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plain cocoa powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil


Rinse the black beans and soak overnight in the 10 cups of water, along with 1 teaspoon salt and the green bell pepper. In a large, heavy-bottomed 6-quart soup pot, bring the beans, soaking water, and pepper to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the green pepper pieces and discard. Heat the peanut oil in a deep frying pan or heavy saucepan. Saute the onion, garlic, and green hot pepper until soft. Remove 2 1/2 cups of the bean broth from the pot and add it to the frying pan. Simmer this mixture for 10 minutes. Strain the onions, garlic, and hot pepper from the broth and discard them. Add the seasoned broth to the soup pot. Add salt, pepper, cocoa, bay leaf, cumin, and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the soup thickens. You may have to add more water if too much of the liquid cooks away. Before serving, add the vinegar and olive oil. Mix well.

Serves 8-10.

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Submitted 6/13/05.
Source: The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American
Submitted By: Linda Wilson
Cocoa Black-Bean Soup