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Serving Size: 4

2 Cups Onion -- chopped
6 Sprigs Parsley -- chopped
1 Cup Celery -- chopped
2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme Leaves -- chopped
1 Whole Bay Leaf
3 Tablespoons Unsalted butter
2 Cups Dried black beans
1 Large Ham Hocks
6 Cups Beef broth
4 Cups Water
Salt And Pepper -- to taste
1/3 Cup Dark rum
Lime juice to taste
Fresh parsley -- chopped
Lemon -- slices

Clean and soak beans.
See Notes Below For Cleaning And Soaking Beans

In a heavy kettle, cook onion, celery, parlsey, thyme, and bay leaf in the butter over mod-low heat, stirring, for 10 minutes.

Add ham hock, beans, broth, 4 cups water, salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered.

Add more water if necessary to keep beans covered.
Simmer for 3 hours. 

Discard ham hock and bay leaf.

Put 1/2 of the mixture through a medium disk of a food mill into a large bowl and then return it to the kettle.

Stir in rum, Lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

NOTES: * Cleaning and soaking

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.
Black beans, like all dried beans, need to be soaked before cooking. This hydration helps to reduce the cooking time. 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.


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