Black Bean Soup

The other night, we had planned on making turkey burgers using freshly ground turkey, courtesy of the Kitchen Aid Food Grinder I got for Christmas. But that fell apart when there was an unfortunate allergy attack and the unplanned rescue of two teens from the mall. I knew I needed to come up with something fast, so I threw together some Black Bean Soup. If you’re planning on staying home tonight, or just want something easy to make the kids before you put on your party apparel and head out for a night of festivities, this is a great soup! 
Black Bean Soup
3 – 15.5 ounce cans of black beans or 3 cups of black beans that you have cooked until soft
1 quart of chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 or more cloves of garlic, minced
8 ounces of ham, chopped
2 TBSP of vinegar
Cumin to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Saute the onion, garlic and celery in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat.
Puree two cans of drained and rinsed beans with a cup or so of broth until smooth. Pour in a soup pot or small slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and cook until warm. 
My soup only simmered for 30 minutes and I was still told that it was “my best soup ever,” and “restaurant quality.” By now, my family has very high standards so this compliment was not taken lightly. If you like, serve this over rice (prepared, of course). Do not store the soup with the rice. You’ll end up with a big glop of rice and no soup and then you’ll be sad.
One can easily substitute other beans into this recipe, such as Navy Beans, Red Beans, etc. You can increase this recipe very easily without modifications. And if you select gluten free beans, broth, spices and ham, this recipe can easily be prepared gluten free! You can also include some diced tomato. I chose to leave out tomatoes because the sight of them usually starts a Whine-fest in my home. I avoid these at all costs.
Happy New Year! May 2013 bring you health and happiness!
Enjoy!

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