Black Bean Soup

Course : Soups
Serves: 8
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2 cups black turtle soup beans
1 cup onion -- coarsely chopped
1 cup celery with leaves -- coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot -- chopped
1 piece bay leaf
1 dash thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 quarts water
3 medium smoked ham hocks
1 cup chicken stock
1 dash salt -- to taste
1 dash crushed peppercorns -- to taste
1/4 cup Dry Sack Sherry

Preparation / Directions:

CHEF'S NOTE: In place of the smoked ham hocks, you may substitute 8 ounces lean, diced salt pork or 1 pound cooked, diced bacon. In place of the chicken stock, you may substitute an appropriate amount of chicken base or prepared bouillon cubes. STEP ONE: Wash beans in cold water and transfer to soup pot. Add all other ingredients except salt, pepper, and sherry. Simmer at least three hours or until a bean will crush easily. CHEF'S NOTE: An optional method of preparing this soup that we do not use includes this step: Remove the bay leaf and ham hocks, and puree beans in a food mill or sieve. STEP TWO: Return to heat and add salt, pepper, and sherry. Adjust the consistency to your preference. * If too thin, add a little roux made of equal parts butter and flour. Stir over heat until rich and creamy. * If too thick, add a small amount of chicken stock. To serve, sprinkle with grated cooked egg, or thin, sliced raw onion and lace all over with Dry Sack Sherry. Top with a dollop of sour cr

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