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Black Bean, Sausage, and Sweet Potato Soup

1 1/2 c Dried black beans; picked over
3 Garlic cloves; minced
1 Bay leaf
1/4 ts Ground allspice
2 c Chicken broth
5 1/2 c Plus 1 tablespoon water
1 tb Tomato paste
1/4 lb Smoked hot beef and pork sausage; (about 2 links), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 ts Worcestershire sauce
1 lb Sweet potatoes
3 Scallions; chopped
Garnish: chopped scallion greens

In a 4-quart saucepan simmer beans, garlic, bay leaf, allspice, broth, and 5 1/2 cups water, partially covered, until beans are tender, about 50 minutes. Discard bay leaf. In a blender pur0e 1 cup beans with 1 cup cooking liquid and return to pan.

In a small bowl stir together tomato paste and remaining tablespoon water and stir into beans with sausage and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer soup, covered, 15 minutes. Soup may be prepared up to this point 3 days ahead, cooled, uncovered, and chilled, covered.

While soup is simmering, peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. In a steamer set over boiling water steam potatoes, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir potatoes, scallions, and salt and pepper to taste into soup.

Serve soup garnished with scallion greens.

Makes about 8 cups, serving 4

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