"The tradition of Italian cooking is that of the matriarch. This is the cooking of grandma. She didn't waste time thinking too much about the celery. She got the best celery she could and then she dealt with it."--Mario Batali

Black Bean Soup Recipe

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This recipe for Black Bean Soup, by , is from May I Have That Recipe ?, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We help families or individuals create heirloom cookbook treasures.

Cooks Illustrated
Added: Tuesday, March 25, 2008


1 pound (2 cups) dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
4 oz. ham steak, trimmed of rind
2 dried by leaves
5 c. water
1/8 t. baking soda
1 t. table salt

3 T. olive oil
2 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
3 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
1/2 t. salt
5-6 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 1/2 T. ground cumin
6 c. chicken broth
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
2 T. lime juice

Lime wedges
Minced fresh cilantro leaves
Finely diced red onion
Diced avocado
Sour cream

1. For beans: Place beans, ham, bay, water, and baking soda in a large saucepan with tight-fitting lid. Bring to boil over medium-high heat: using large spoon, skim scum as it rises to surface. Stir in salt, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer briskly until beans are tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, (if necessary add another 1 c. water and continue to simmer until beans are tender); do not drain beans. Discard bay. Remove ham stead, cut into 1/4 " cubes and set aside.
2. For the soup: Heat oil in 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but now smoking; add onions, carrot, celery and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, pepper flakes and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 3 min. Stir in beans, bean cooking liquid and chicken brown. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasional to blend flavors, about 30 minutes.
3. To finish the soup: Ladle 1 1/3 c. beans and 2 cups liquid into food processor or blender, process until smooth, and return to pot. Stir together cornstarch and water in small bowl until combined, then gradually stir about half of cornstarch mixture into soup/ bring to boil over medium=high heat, stirring occasionally, to fully thicken. If soup is still thinner than desired once boiling, stir remaining cornstarch mixture to recombine and gradually stir mixture into soup; return to boil to fully thicken. Off heat, stir in lime juice and reserved ham. Ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately, passing garnishes.

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