Black Bean Soup
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook over low heat until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Drain the beans and add them, the ham bone or ham hock, and the 6 quarts water to the pot. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cuminseed, the oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, uncovered, until beans are very tender and liquid is reduced by about three quarters. This will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
3. Transfer ham bone or hock to a plate and cool slightly. Pull off any remaining meat with your fingers and shred finely. Return meat to the pot.
4. Stir in remaining parsley, sweet red pepper, remaining cuminseed, sherry, brown sugar and lemon juice. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste, correct seasoning and serve very hot, garnished with a dollop of crème fraîche.