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Black Bean Soup

1 lb Black beans
1/4 lb Bacon
2 qt Beef stock
1 Smoked pork hock; cracked
1 Bay leaf
1 ts Oregano
1 ts Cumin
1/4 c Olive oil
2 Cloves garlic; minced
1 lg Onion; diced
1 Leek; sliced
1 Celery stalk; sliced
1 Carrot; diced
1/4 c Madira

Beef Stock
3 lb Beef shank bones; split
1 lg Onion; chopped
1/4 lb Celery; sliced
1 Carrot; coarsely chopped
2 Bay leaves
1/2 ts Each salt and pepper

Wash beans, and soak overnight in water. Drain and discard any foreign matter.

Saute bacon in a 5-quart saucepan. Crumble bacon when cool. Discard all but 4 tbs. of drippings. Add Beef Stock, black beans, pork hock, bay leaf, oregano and cumin.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute garlic, onion, leek, carrot and celery until vegetables are limp. Add to beef stock.

Cover and simmer 1 hr. or until beans are soft. Discard bay leaf. Remove hock and reserve.

Blend or process until smooth. Return beans to soup stock. Stir in Madeira. Reheat and serve hot. Beef Stock:

Boil all ingredients in a large stock pot, covered with water. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours covered.

Skim off any scum or fat as it rises to the surface. Strain the stock. Refrigerate until ready to use. Red kidney beans, pinto beans and the black beans are readily obtainable in most supermarkets. Beans range in color from white, pink and yellow to dark red and black. Beans are served at almost every meal in Mexico.

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