Here's an economical meal that doesn't skimp on flavor. Hearty black beans make up for the meat, and the peppers add just the right splash of color.
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 1-1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1/2 cup each chopped green, sweet red and yellow peppers
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, optional
- Chopped tomato, optional
- Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours or until beans are softened. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.
- Return beans to pan; add broth and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are almost tender.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the onions, celery, carrot, peppers and garlic in oil until tender. Add the tomato paste, herbs and seasonings to the bean mixture. Add the sauteed vegetables; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until beans are tender. Discard bay leaves. Garnish with chopped tomato if desired. Yield: 12 servings (3 quarts).
Originally published as Black Bean Soup in Home-Style Soups, Salad and Sandwiches Cookbook 1996, p15
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