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BLACK BEAN SOUP, VEGETARIAN

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

2 Pounds Black Beans -- washed
                      
1 Gallon Water
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cumin Powder
2 Teaspoons Oregano
2 Teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Thyme

2 Cups Yellow Onions -- diced
2 Cups Celery -- diced
2 Cups Carrots -- diced
2 Tablespoons Garlic Cloves -- minced
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Dry Sherry
Salt -- to taste

Cheddar Cheese -- grated
Sour Cream


Pick through beans, picking out any small pebbles, split and withered beans and any other foreign matter. It is also helpful to cover the beans with cold water, let sit for 5 minutes and remove anything that floats.
Drain. Repeat to be sure all dirt and foreign matter is removed. Discard water.

Add the fresh cold water to cover beans and soak for 2-4 hours.  Discard water.

Place beans in a pot with 1 gallon cold water. Add cumin, oregano, black pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer.

While beans are cooking, sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic in olive oil until they are tender.

Add sautéed vegetables, sherry and salt to beans after beans have simmered for 1 hour.

Continue simmering for another hour, for a total cooking time of 2 hours.
Stir gently to keep beans on bottom from sticking or burning.


NOTES : Cleaning and Soaking Beans
       Cleaning

Before cooking, be sure to pick through the beans, picking out any small pebbles, split and withered beans and any other foreign matter. It is also helpful to cover the beans with cold water, let sit for 5 minutes and remove anything that floats.  Repeat to be sure all dirt and foreign matter is removed.  Drain.
       Soaking
Black beans, like all dried beans, can be soaked before cooking. This hydration helps to reduce the cooking time, but does effect nutrient and flavor adversely. Because they are small, 2-4 hours soaking in cold water should suffice.
Drain, and cook as per recipe.
      
If you don't have the time, boil the beans in water for 1-3 minutes, turn off heat, cover the pot and let them sit for one hour. Drain and proceed as per recipe. However, there is a problem with this quick soaking (boiling for 1-3 minutes) method. Hot water increases the solubility of the water soluble nutrients, and softens the cell membranes of the beans, further accelerating the loss of these nutrients. This should be a consideration, because of the long cooking time during which more nutrients are lost.  Cold soaked and cooked at a very gentle simmer, beans retain most of their nutrients, which are
considerable.

Serving Ideas:
Serve with garnished with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream.

 

 

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