If you prefer to make a vegetarian version of this soup, you can leave out the ham.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 slice ham, 1/2 inch thick
- 1 medium red onion (5 ounces), diced
- 1 jalapeno chile, seeded if less heat is desired, and finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cans black beans (15 ounces each), drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Lime wedges (optional), for serving
- Plain yogurt (optional), for garnish
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and cook ham until brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove, and let cool. When cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes; set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Stir in onion and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add jalapeno, garlic, cumin, and oregano; cook until fragrant, and garlic is tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add beans and enough water to cover (about 4 cups). Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, or working in batches in a standing blender, puree until thick and smooth. If necessary, add water to achieve desired consistency. Stir in ham. Serve garnished with yogurt, cilantro and lime wedges.