Easy Cuban Black Bean Soup

From Jeanette's Healthy Living (http://JeanettesHealthyLiving.blogspot.com)

Adapted from Gates' Restaurant. I used less oil and substituted uncured turkey bacon for the traditional smoked ham hock to reduce the amount of fat and preservatives that are sometimes used in smoked products. Gates serves their black bean soup with a simple garnish of parsley and onion. If you like more toppings, try avocado, red bell pepper, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. For a vegetarian soup, simple leave out the turkey bacon and Greek yogurt garnish.

10 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock

2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight in water, then rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 large onions, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

6 celery stalks, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

3 slices uncured turkey bacon, optional 

1/2 cup dry sherry

salt and pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes:

fresh parsley or cilantro

chopped red onion

chopped avocado

chopped red bell pepper

non-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream

In a large soup pot, bring stock to a boil. Add drained black beans, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any froth that rises to the surface.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and cumin. Cook until onions are translucent, but not brown, about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add this to the chicken stock pot, along with the parsley, turkey bacon and sherry. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

Remove the turkey bacon. Use an immersion blender, blender or food processor to puree soup to your liking. If you like some whole beans, puree half the soup, then add back to the the soup pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish soup with fresh parsley or cilantro, red onion, avocado and Greek yogurt if desired.

Serves 10.