Unadulterated Black Bean Soup

Course : Beans
Serves: 10
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1 pound dried black beans
2 medium ham hocks
1 medium red onion
1 medium yellow onion
8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry or Madeira -- (opt)
1 Cup sour cream
1 bunch chives

Preparation / Directions:

Pick over beans, cover with cold water and bring to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand at least 1 hour. (Or soak beans overnight, changing water several times.) Drain beans and place in a large pot. Rinse the ham hocks. Peel and quarter the onions. Bury hocks and onions in the beans. Add 7-8 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Be sure the beans are soft. Remove the hocks or bone and strip any meat from them. Add the meat to the soup and puree in batches in a blender. Note: A food processor sometimes leaks with this much liquid. Put the pureed soup in a clean pot; warm, adding the seasonings and wine, if using. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and finely minced chives. This recipe is from Katherine Hall Page's book "The Body in the Cast" . It's from heroine Faith Fairchild's cookbook, called "Have Faith in Your Kitchen." Faith notes that the soup tastes better if made a day ahe

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