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There are many places to vary the recipe. It is a very rich soup with the addition of half and half cream, about a quart, at the final addition of vinegar and sherry. The soup is great as it appears above in the recipe without any changes, and gets even better the next day, and the next, in the fridge.
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 1⁄2 lb bacon, diced
- 4 large onions, chopped
- 3 stalks celery & leaves, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb black beans (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 5 (14 1/2 fluid ounce) cans chicken broth, about 8 3/4 cups
- 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup sherry wine
- cooked rice (optional)
- chopped cilantro (optional)
- salsa (optional)
- shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- sour cream, chopped (optional)
- scallion, chopped (optional)
- hard-boiled egg (optional)
- green pepper, chopped (optional)
- Heat oil in 5 qt dutch oven or heavy sauce pot over medium-high heat.
- Add bacon, onions, and celery and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Cook, stirring occasionally,30-40 minutes until vegetables are very soft and lightly browned.
- Add garlic.
- Pick over beans,remove bad ones, rinse and drain.
- Add beans to pan with cayenne, cumin, and broth; bring everything to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cover.
- Cook until beans mash easily,about 3 hours.
- Skim fat from the soup and discard.
- Allow soup to cool slightly and then puree small portions at a time in food processor or blender.
- Soup must be cool enough not to crack the pitcher.
- Also, be sure to do in small batches Return soup to pan and cook over medium-high until very hot.
- Remove from heat, stir in vinegar and sherry.
- Serve with condiments.