Black Bean Soup

2 C black beans
1 qt chicken stock and 2 qt water
6 oz salt pork
2 C onion, chopped
1 C celery, chopped
1 C carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf, crumbled
3 whole cloves
1/2 t crushed read pepper
a pinch of mace
1 T vinegar
1 C sherry
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
hard-boiled egg or lemon slices

Wash, then soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover them. Drain. Add the beans to a soup pot with the chicken stock, water and salt pork. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce the heat and simmer for two hours.

Add the chopped vegetables, herbs and spices. Continue simmering for another two hours. Puree the soup in a food mill, blender, or food processor, a little at a time. Return the soup to its pot, then add the vinegar and sherry. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with the egg or lemon slices.

Adapted from Bakery Lane Soup Bowl by M. Mitchell and J. Sedgwick

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