Mom's Hearty Black Bean Soup Recipe

When mom gave me this recipe, she told me that the soup was "awesome", her word exactly. Well, I thought the combination was interesting, as I've never added quite all those ingredients to a black bean soup before. It intrigued me enough to try it. Of course, mom was right. The soup was smoky, tangy and fully of veggie goodness.

This makes a small pot of soup.

1/2 cup dry black beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken broth
1 smoky pork hock
olive oil
1 cup smoky diced ham
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (for spicy soup, for mild soup, use 1/2 green pepper)
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t oregano, rubbed
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup diced tomato
hot sauce to taste
1 small handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
juice from 1 fresh lime

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, add beans, broth and pork hock and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce heat to medium low and simmer beans about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute ham, onion, celery and jalapeno til softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and herbs and cook a few seconds. Add the veggie mixture to the soup pot and simmer another 30 minutes.

Add tomatoes, hot sauce and cilantro to pot and simmer 30 more minutes. About 5 minutes before serving, stir in corn.

Just before serving stir in lime juice. Discard pork hock.

I served the soup with buttered bread.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d307/d356/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

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