Dry sherry enhances the flavor of this traditional favorite.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound dry black beans
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 3/4 pound smoked ham hock
- 1/2 lemon
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 (10-1/2 ounce) can beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of ground thyme
- 1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
- 1 cup sour cream (optional)
Preparation: Rinse and drain beans. Discard damaged beans and any foreign material. Place in a saucepan; cover with 6 cups water and boil for two minutes. Cover pot; soak for one to four hours. Discard soaking water.
Sauté onion and garlic in butter or margarine over medium heat until tender. Add celery and sauté further 5 minutes.
In a 4-quart pot, combine soaked beans, sautéed vegetables and ham hock. Cut half lemon into quarters and stick a clove into each. Add lemon quarters, broth, 6 cups water, bay leaf and thyme to beans; stir well.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beans are tender, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove ham hock and reserve for another purpose. Discard bay leaf. Puree soup in blender or food processor. Return soup to pot. Stir in sherry if desired. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream if desired.