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Black Bean Soup
From New New York Times Cookbook, by Craig Claiborne

Ingredients:

2 cups dried black beans
4 tablespoons butter
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Rind and bone from a smoked ham
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry Madeira
2 tablespoons vinegar
Chopped hard-cooked egg whites

Instructions:

Pick over and wash the beans. Cover them with water and soak overnight. Drain the beans, add 8 cups of cold water, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Melt the butter in a heavy kettle. Add the celery and onions; sauté until tender but not brown. Blend in the flour and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the parsley, the beans and cooking liquid, the ham rind and bone, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 3 hours.

Discard the ham bone and rind, but keep any bits of meat. Put the soup through a sieve or purée in a food processor. Add the wine and vinegar. Reheat and serve topped with chopped egg whites.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

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