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Recipe Mailbox: Black bean soup

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Black bean soup

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour, 50 minutes Serve 4 to 6

Linda Harrington of Elk Grove is vegetarian and was looking for a good, hearty soup recipe to enjoy now that the cooler weather is upon us.

This recipe comes from “The New Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone” by Deborah Madison (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 666 pages, $40).

1 ½ cups black beans, soaked

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 cup finely diced onion

1/3 cup diced celery

1/3 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced green bell pepper

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons chopped rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons sea salt

½ cup Madeira

½ cup cream or milk

Chopped parsley, garnish

Drain the beans. Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the vegetables and herbs and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly colored. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more, mushing it around in the pan. Add the beans and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.

Add the salt and continue cooking until the beans are quite soft, another 15 to 30 minutes. Pull out the bay leaves and puree about two-thirds of the soup. Return it to the pot, add the Madeira and cream and simmer for 5 minutes more. Serve garnished with a little chopped parsley sprinkled over each bowl.

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