black bean soup, again

I love beans.  I love this black bean soup recipe, from the Moosewood cookbook, that uses orange juice to make everything tangy and delicious. But when I saw a recipe for black bean soup on the Kitchn, that claimed to be the best ever, I had to try it. They are totally different soups, different textures, different flavours, and I’m really not sure which I prefer. This one is smokey and so not vegetarian, thanks to the ham hock. Also, I can’t lie: ham hock looks kind of gross. But you really don’t end up eating it, just stealing the porky, smokey flavour.

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  • 2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight, exciting if you’re me and this is the closest you ever get to science.  Drain the rehydrated beans and add enough water so that they are covered with an extra inch of water.  Add the onion and pepper, the minced garlic, the olive oil, pork hock and a bit of salt and pepper.  Bring everything to a boil, skim the froth off the top and then let it simmer for four or five hours.  Add more water if you think it needs it (I didn’t, because I wanted a very thick soup and because the hock was bigger than I expected and I was running out of space in my pot…), and just stir it when you think of it.  After it seems basically ready, add the vinegar and let it simmer for fifteen more minutes.  Pretty, pretty delicious.  I ate this as a soup on its own, which is a lot of beans, seriously, but it was thick so I brought some to family fajita night and we ate them as a dip for chips and possibly as a spread on fajitas, too.  Versatile beans!

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