New Orleans Spicy Bean Soup
- In large no-stick pot, combine the water, ham hock, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Reduce the heat to med-low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Strain into a large bowl. Discard the bay leaf. Remove the meat from the bone. Trim off all visible fat and cut the meat into small dice. Set aside about 3/4 cup of the meat; reserve any remainder for another use. Defat the Stock.
- Wash the pot with soapy water and rinse. Return the stock to pot.
- Add the beans, onions, celery, carrots, red peppers, parsley, cilantro, cumin, oregano, Creole seasoning, and garlic. Set over med-high heat and bring almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the beans are tender.
- Transfer 4 cups of the soup to a blender or food processor. Puree, then stir back into the soup. If the soup is not thick enough, continue pureeing in 1-cup batches until the soup is the desired consistency. (May also use a hand blender in this step.) Stir in the reserved ham. Season to taste with the hot-pepper sauce.