Black bean \"cassoulet\" soup

Yield: 16 servings

Measure Ingredient
2 pounds Dried black (turtle) beans
1¼ cup Best-quality olive oil
3 cups Diced yellow onions
12 \N Cloves garlic, crushed
1 \N Very meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
8 quarts Water
3½ tablespoon Ground cumin
2 tablespoons Dried oregano
3 \N Bay leaves
1 tablespoon Coarse (kosher) salt
1 tablespoon Freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch Cayenne pepper
8 tablespoons Chopped fresh Italian parsley
1¾ \N To 2 pounds fresh garlic sausage
6 \N Sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 \N Hot Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pounds Bratwurst, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 \N Medium-size sweet red peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
¼ cup Dry sherry
3 tablespoons Dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Fresh lemon juice

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." Sour cream

1. Soak the black beans in water to cover overnight.

2. Heat 1 cup of the oil in a large heavy stock pot over low heat.

Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are limp, about 10 minutes.

3. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the stock pot. Add the ham bone and 6 quarts of the water. Stir in the cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne, and 3 tablespoons 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.

4. Place the garlic sausage in a medium-size saucepan and add the remaining 2 quarts water. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain. Remove casings and cut into ½-inch slices.

5. Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the Italian sausages and saute until browned.

Remove the sausages with a slotted spoon.

6. In the same skillet, saute the bratwurst until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon.

7. After 2 hours of cooking, process 2 cups 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.

8. Add all the sausages and the red peppers and cook for another 30 minutes.

9. Remove the ham bone from the soup, shred the meat and return to the pot. Stir in the sherry, sugar, and lemon juice.

10. Cook over medium heat until the beans are very soft and the soup is thick, 30 to 45 minutes. Stir in the remaining 5 tablespoons chopped parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings.

11. Ladle the soup into soup bowls and dollop each serving with sour cream.

Makes 16 portions.

Posted by Kyosho Connick. Courtesy of Fred Peters.

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