Black Bean Soup

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(click on pics to enlarge)

There are many variations of this soup from a Spanish cumin flavor to a sweeter version I prefer with sherry added when served. I have perfected this dish over many years and I say perfected b/c when served hot on and cold day there are few things better. I have merged several variations such as I only use red bell pepper rather than green, a fresh Jalapeño pepper rather than chili pepper and instead of cilantro I use ground coriander, which is ground cilantro seed.

2 slices of bacon (chopped)
1 thick slice of Black Forest ham, cut into squares (the deli can slice a 1/4″ thick slice)
12 oz. dried black beans (3/4 of one bag)
½ onion (chopped)
½ red bell pepper (chopped)
1 celery stalk (chopped)
1 carrot (sliced with a Julienne peeler and then chopped)
1 garlic clove (sliced)
½ Jalapeño pepper (chopped)
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP butter
1 32 oz. chicken stock
½ cup white wine
Sherry
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground coriander

In a large pot boil black beans in chicken stock, then simmer one hour. Drain beans and save the stock.

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Clean the soup pot. Add olive oil, get hot and fry the bacon. Add onions, red bell pepper, celery, carrot, garlic and Jalapeño pepper. Sauté for 6 to 8 minutes. Add white wine. Add Black forest ham. Return the beans and the stock. Add butter, salt and pepper and the coriander. Stir. Add a little water if necessary to raise the level of the soup. Lower the heat to simmer and cook one hour.

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The idea is not to cook all 16 oz. of beans as not to make the soup too thick or overrun with beans. I also don’t want to get the soup too hot or boil the heck out of it so that the flavors gently blend.

When serving, pour one shot of sherry in the bowl and then ladle the soup into the bowl. The warm soup will generate the sherry flavor into a very appetizing aroma.

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