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Black Bean Soup

In the region of Oaxaca, Black Bean Soup is eaten in humble homes, as well as high-priced restaurants.
It's often spiced with chiles and drizzled with cream. This filling soup makes a great first course;
however, feel free to serve it as an entree, since it's basically a meal in itself.

1 cup black beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups white onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 serrano chiles, seeded & minced
8 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Key lime juice
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper
Mexican cream for garnishing

8 servings

1. Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of water. Strain.

2. Place the olive oil in a large stockpot over high heat. When hot, add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes.

3. Add the celery, red bell pepper, and serrano chiles. Cook another few minutes.

4. Add the beans and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 ½ hours. (add more chicken broth if needed.)

5.Add the lime juice, cilantro, sherry, oregano, and cumin. Continue simmering until the beans are tender, 30-45 minutes.

6. Roughly puree the soup in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper. Garnish with a drizzle of cream.