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Black Bean Soup With Grapefruit in a Bind— Grandma to the Rescue!

April 29, 2011

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I knew this blog post would come, yes readers: I had my first disaster in the kitchen. While prepping my ingredients for Black Bean Soup With Grapefruit from The Garden-Fresh Cookbook (page 45), I burned my beans!

There is a lot of prep work to this recipe, and while doing so, neglected the black beans, leaving them to quickly begin to burn. In a dash to beat the smoke alarm, I rushed the pot to the sink and opened all the doors and windows. I stared at the blackened bottom of the pot and knew there was no resurrecting the beans. In defeat, I called my mom, who was out running errands with my visiting Grandmother. . “Don’t worry,” she said. “Grandma has a trick, we’ll be back in 20 minutes.”

I sat in the kitchen fanning the air until they arrived, my Grandma beaming and holding up a plastic bag weighted down with, six cans of precooked black beans.

“We’ll cheat!” she said, so proud of herself. I was apprehensive to use canned beans, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. I made sure to thoroughly wash the beans before putting it in the beef stock. And guess what? My frantic bean burning incident was fixed! The soup turned out delicious, and something I have honestly never tasted before. For personal taste, I used turkey bacon instead of ham. The ingredients seem unconventional to combine; yet that is what attracted me to it.

So, to learn from my mistakes, chop, measure, and peel all ingredients before it’s time to let the soup simmer for 30 minutes, and watch the beans carefully! During this time you can cook the rice, and everything will be ready to serve at the same time!

Black Bean Soup With Grapefruit

If you do not have a grapefruit, substitute an orange, peeled and cut into small pieces, or a cup of seeded grapes.

1 pound dried black beans
1 cup finely chopped onion, for garnish
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup red-wine vinegar
4 cups beef stock
1/2 pound cooked ham, cubed
1 grapefruit, peeled, seeded, and cut into small pieces
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups cooked rice

Soak the beans in water overnight (see tip, below). Put the chopped onion into a bowl. Combine the oil and vinegar, then pour over the onions and set aside to marinate. Drain and rinse the beans. Put them into a large stockpot, add the beef stock and 2 cups of water, and cook over medium-high heat to boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender. Add the remaining ingredients except the rice and simmer for 30 minutes. Garnish each serving with marinated onions. Serve with the rice. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Dried Bean Conversions

  • 1 cup dried beans = about 2-1/2 cups soaked dried beans
  • 1 pound dried beans = about 2 cups uncooked dried beans = 5 to 6 cups cooked
  • 1 can (15 ounces) beans, drained = about 1-1/2 cups cooked dried beans


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Jane received her Bachelor's in Fine Arts at Western Washington University where she studied Creative Writing. She now lives in the greater Seattle area, where she writes and drinks copious amounts of coffee. When she isn't writing, cooking, gardening, or taking photos, you can find her at local shows and concerts, or running to prepare for yet another half marathon.

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