This recipe for Instant Pot Cuban Black Bean soup is fire for so many reasons! But before we dive into the recipe let’s talk about why I love this soup so very much.
Cuban black beans might be my favorite food to get in all of Florida. They truly are the food of South Florida. While my family isn’t Cuban, we spent a lot of family celebrations at Cuban restaurants. They were our go-to. And the black bean soup was always a favorite (along my other favorites like ropa vieja and picadillo (recipe coming soon!)).
The most critical part of Cuban black bean soup?
The sofrito. In this instance it’s a combo of red onions, green bell pepper, garlic and some spices that give the beans some good flavor. Beans by themselves are notoriously bland so you definitely have to gussy them up with lots of spices and a healthy amount of salt.
I’ve been on this quest to make homemade ravioli. I usually go the super easy route and buy the pre-made ones from the store stuffed with cheeses and then just try and make the sauce as exciting as possible. Let’s be clear: I still advocate for doing just that, especially on busier nights when time is not on our side. But, on occasion, when I’m feeling artsy, I like to make my own.
For this post, I teamed up with Vidalia Onions from Georgia. These onions—if you’re unfamiliar—are so deliciously sweet and tender. Now, you’re probably going to ask me, “Adrianna, what’s the difference between a regular yellow onion and a Vidalia onion?” I’m glad you asked!
Vidalia onions are from Vidalia, Georgia. The water content in Vidalias is usually higher than a yellow onion, resulting in a more tender and gentler flavor. Their vibe is subtle and a bit more mellow. If I’m eating raw yellow onions, I usually soak them in a bit of water with salt to take their edge off; no need with Vidalias!
Their primo season is from April through September. And while they’re usually categorized as “sweet onions” not all sweet onions are Vidalias. So specifically look for Vidalias. And while they are sweeter than yellow onions, they’re not that sweet. They still have a lovely savory quality to them that makes everything more flavorful.
For years I’ve always complained about summer. It’s usually just not my vibe. I like cozy things: food, sweaters, fall leaves, etc. All of that. But this year—maybe it’s because I have central air-conditioning now—is different. It’s fun! Summer foods and flavors have all of a sudden become my absolute favorite. I’m eating all of the corn, tomatoes and seafood. I also have that dang grill that I love and that has really made summer cooking my absolute favorite. This Chipolte Lime Braised Clams is a true celebration of summer! Let’s get started!
These have been on rotation because clams and chipotle and lime are all flavors that go so well together.
Types of Clams to Use!
There are a lot of varieties of clams. The most common you’ll see at the grocery store are:
Little neck clams
For this recipe, we’ll be using little neck clams but other clams ((like Manila clams) or even mussels would also work.
This guide from Serious Eats on types of clams is pretty cool and interesting, by the way!
The big key with clams is scrubbing the outside so they’re nice and clean. The ones I got had a pretty good amount of sand on them and that would be in your dish; you definitely don’t want that!
I only do this with mussels but if the clams you purchased are super dirty or sandy, you could soak them in a bucket of water with a tablespoon of all-purpose flour. The clams will purge their sand almost immediately.