Cuban lamb & black bean soup




1.Place beans in a medium bowl, cover with cold water, stand overnight, drain. Rinse under cold water, drain.
2.Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook lamb, in batches, until browned. Remove from pan.
3.Heat remaining oil in same pan over medium heat, cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Add celery, cumin and cayenne, cook, stirring, until fragrant.
4.Return lamb to pan with the water and tomatoes, bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Add beans, simmer, covered, about 1 hour or until beans are tender. Stir in sherry and balsamic vinegar, cool 10 minutes.
5.Blend or process half the soup, in batches, until pureed. (Soup can be made ahead to this stage. Cover refrigerate overnight.)
6.Combine pureed soup with coriander and remaining soup in pan, stir over heat until hot. Season to taste.
7.Meanwhile, cut limes into wedges. Combine chilli and white wine vinegar in a small bowl. Serve soup accompanied by lime wedges, chilli mixture and sour cream.

You can substitute gravy beef (or better yet, a ham bone and chicken stock) for the lamb. Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are a common ingredient in Latin American soups, salads and salsa. They have a black skin, creamy texture and sweet flavour, and are a breed apart from Chinese black beans which are, in fact, fermented soya beans.