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Black Bean Soup

Black beans, also known as "turtle beans," are an especially tasty variety, and make a lovely soup. As with most dried beans, they are inexpensive while offering a bounty of fiber, protein, folic acid, potassium and magnesium. Do not salt dried beans while they are cooking as the salt slows down the softening process. And a word about the sherry commonly added to this soup: forget "cooking" wines or sherries. They contain lots of added salt and very little in the way of flavor. Do your palate and your body a favor and use a drinkable sherry in this recipe.

Food as Medicine
A recent study from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that, of all beans and legumes, black beans are the most antioxidant-rich (they contain the same anthocyanins found in dark red fruits such as grapes and cranberries). The antioxidants in black beans prevent cholesterol from being oxidized by free radicals in the bloodstream, a process that may, left unchecked, lead to plaque formation on blood vessel walls and, ultimately, atherosclerosis. Additionally, just one cup of black beans contains 20 percent of the Daily Value for iron; however, black beans also contain polyphenols known as tannins that prevent the full absorption of iron, so the amount of iron the body can actually use is somewhat lower.


1 pound black beans
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced
Salt to taste
A few cloves of chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 cup dry sherry (not cooking sherry)


1. Pick over beans to remove any dirt, stones or foreign objects. Wash well, then soak for 8 hours in ample cold water.

2. Drain beans and cover with a generous amount of fresh water. Bring to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan with the bay leaf. Skim off foam, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, until beans are just tender, about 1 hour.

3. Add onion and continue to cook until onion becomes extremely soft, about 1 more hour.

4. Add salt to taste and garlic. Continue to cook, adding a little boiling water if necessary, until beans are very soft, about 1-2 hours more.

5. Remove bay leaf and turn off heat. Ladle beans in batches into a blender or food processor and puree, or use an immersion blender and puree soup directly in the saucepan.

6. Add dry mustard powder and dry sherry. Correct seasoning. Reheat and serve, adding any garnishes you wish, such as slices of lemon or freshly chopped herbs.

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Serves 8
Nutrients Per Serving

Calories: 102.8
Protein: 3.5 grams
Fat: 2.6 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.2 grams
Monounsat Fat: 1.3 grams
Polyunsat Fat: 0.9 grams
Carbohydrate: 18.6 grams
Fiber: 4.1 grams
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Vitamin A: 5,138.3 IU
Vitamin E: 2.0 mg/IU
Vitamin C: 39.9 mg
Calcium: 104.1 mg
Magnesium: 76.1 mg


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