Salvadoran White Bean and Pork Rib Soup
Sopa de Frijoles Blancos con Costilla de Cerdo
When I started writing Delicious El Salvador, my Salvadoran friends would always ask me if I planned to include this recipe in the soup section. Well, here it is! The combination of white beans, oregano, pork, annatto (achiote), and thyme creates a velvety texture that explodes with flavors.
1½ cups dried white or navy beans (12 ounces)
8 cups water
2 pounds baby back pork ribs cut into individual ribs
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato
1 teaspoon ground annatto seeds
1½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (1 teaspoon if dried)
2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Sort through the beans for any little stones or shriveled/broken beans and discard. Rinse in cold water, place in large pot, and add the 8 cups of water.
Over medium to high heat bring the beans and water to a boil, and then add the ribs, bay leaf, garlic, onion, tomato, annatto, salt, and thyme. Bring everything back to a full boil, cover, and immediately reduce heat to medium. Cook the soup for about 2 hours, stirring every so often.
Remove ½ cup of beans and 1 cup of liquid from the soup; set aside and let it cool slightly. Meanwhile, add the carrots to the pot and continue cooking for about 15 minutes. Purée the ½ cup of beans and the 1 cup of liquid in a blender or food processor and stir in back into the soup.
Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes, then remove from the stove. Discard the bay leaf and correct the salt. Add and stir the black pepper to taste Serve hot and lightly sprinkle each serving with the dried oregano.