I love eating, cooking and especially reading about all different types of food. Every month I'll try recipes from some of my favorite culinary magazines and cook books, review restaurants and even share some of my own creations. I'll post pictures and let you know what works, how they taste and tips to make them better. I'll also enlist some friends around the country to tell you about some great food finds where they live.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A page from my "book" - Jerk Seasoning, Black Bean Soup

As I anticipate my upcoming trip to the Virgin Islands, I think about all the food I love to have that reminds me of family and my culture.  Caribbean food is influenced mainly by African, European and Latin cuisine.  Depending on the island, the influence could be skewed towards one cuisine more than the other.  Either way, Caribbean food is complex, full of flavor and ranges from simple to complicated.

This week, I started the meal with a really delicious Black Bean Soup.  YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS, IT'S SO EASY AND DELICIOUS!  All you need is a pot and a blender.  No soaking of beans involved.

Easy Black Bean Soup
Servings: 2

2 tbsp vegetable oil 
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped 
2 garlic cloves peeled, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
4 shakes of Tabasco
2 tsp red or white wine vinegar 
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp red pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp jalapeño pepper finely chopped, no seeds
Kosher salt 

Heat oil in large stock pot over medium-low heat.  Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Saute until vegetables are soft, not burnt, about 8-10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper, bay leaves, and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add stock, beans and Tabasco.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every 8-10 minutes.  In the last 5 minutes, add the vinegar and 2 tbsp of the cilantro and stir.

For the topping, combine cilantro, red pepper, red onion and jalapeno in a small bowl.  Season with salt.  Set aside. 

Because hot liquids expand when blended, make sure you don't fill the blender more than half way.  Carefully transfer half the beans to the blender.  Remove the cap from the hole in the lid, and cover with a kitchen towel.  Start the blender on low and increase the speed until you get a smooth consistency.  Repeat until you've blended all the beans.

Pour the soup into each bowl and add topping to the middle of each bowl. 

Jerk is one of those seasonings that is a staple in the Caribbean.  It has its roots in Jamaica.  Normally the seasoning is made up of a number of herbs and spices and has a thick paste consistency.  My Jerk is more of a wet marinade.  It can be used with any type of meat or poultry...even fish.

Jerk Seasoning
6 scallions, roughly chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, roughly chopped (mild - remove the seeds, spicy - keep the seeds)
1 habanero pepper or scotch bonnet peppers, roughly chopped (hot - remove the seeds, crazy hot - keep the seeds)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dark brown sugar

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Adjust salt and heat levels.

For the best results, marinate your meat or chicken at least 4 hours, overnight is best.  If using fish, it doesn't need as long.

I served my jerk chicken with fresh corn on the cob and white rice. 

Please let me know if you try these and let me know what you think!


  1. Hi Jackee,
    GOOD SHOW! Will definitely try the soup.

  2. You guys are serious! I miss your cookin! Looks good!