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Cuban Black Bean Soup

Cuban Black Bean Soup
Serves 8, easy

1 lb. dried black beans
4 Tblsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tblsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 orange, sliced in half
1 smoked ham hock
6 cups chicken broth
salt & freshly ground black pepper

for garnish: sour cream, thinly sliced green onions, cilantro

Pick through the beans for any stones or debris. Place in a large bowl and add enough water to cover by several inches. Soak overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large sacuepan or soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano and bay leaves and stir to combine. Add the beans, orange, ham hock and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 1 to 1.5 hours until the beans are tender.

Remove the orange, bay leaves and ham hock and puree about 1/3 of the soup in a blender or using a hand-held immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the sour cream, green onions and cilantro.

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Complementary Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage, Pinotage, Tempranillo

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