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Silver Palate Black Bean Soup - Black Bean "Cassoulet" Soup
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Serves/Makes: 16 servings

  • 2 lbs (.9 kg) dried black (turtle) beans
  • 1-1/4 cups (300 ml) best-quality olive oil
  • 3 cups (700 ml) diced yellow onions
  • 12 cloves garlic; crushed
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 8 quarts (7575 ml) water
  • 3-1/2 tbsp (50 ml) ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) coarse (kosher) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) cayenne pepper
  • 8 tbsp (125 ml) chopped fresh italian -parsley
  • 1-3/4 lbs (.8 kg). fresh garlic sausage, up to 2
  • 6 sweet italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 hot italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb (.5 kg). bratwurst, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium-size sweet red-peppers, cored and seeded
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • sour cream
  • Soak the black beans in water to cover
  • overnight.
  • Heat 1 cup (225 ml) of the oil in a large heavy stock pot over low heat.
  • Add the onions and garlic and saut, until the onions are limp, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse the beans and add to the stock pot.
  • Add the ham bone and 6 quarts (5675 ml) of the water.
  • Stir in the cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne, and 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the parsely.
  • Heat to boiling.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered at a slow rolling boil for 2 hours, skimming foam from the top and stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Place the garlic sausage in a medium-size saucepan and add the remaining 2 quarts (1900 ml) water; heat to boiling.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes; drain.
  • Remove casings and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the Italian sausages and saute until browned.
  • Remove the sausages with a slotted spoon.
  • In the same skillet, saute the bratwurst until browned.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon.
  • After 2 hours of cooking, process 2 cups (475 ml) of the beans in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until smooth and return to the pot. Continue to cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add all the sausages and the red peppers and cook for another 30 minutes.
  • Remove the ham bone from the soup, shred the meat and return to the pot.
  • Stir in the sherry, sugar, and lemon juice.
  • Cook over medium heat until the beans are very soft and the soup is thick, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Stir in the remaining 5 tbsp (70 ml) chopped parsley.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Ladle the soup into soup bowls and dollop each serving with sour cream.
From The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook.

" Our black bean soup is a Silver Palate staple. In this recipe we've dressed it up with lots of hot and garlicky sausages, sweet red peppers, a bit of brown sugar, and unusual spices. This makes a meal when served with a crisp, tart green salad."

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