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Bajan Black Bean Soup
2 1/2 c Dried black beans soaked overnight
1 lg Or 2 small ham hocks
3 To 3. 5 quarts water
3 tb Olive oil
2 To 3 large onions
4 Cloves garlic
3 sm Fresh green peppers (jalapenos if preferred)
8 Berries allspice coarsely crushed
2 ts Brown sugar (or 1 t of molasses)
3 tb Tomato paste
3/4 c Crème fraiche or sour cream
Put the drained beans and hock in a very large pan, cover with the cold water and bring gradually to a boil. Leave to simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a frying pan heat the olive oil, then gently fry the onion, garlic and chili with the allspice and lemon rind, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add this mixture to the beans and go on simmering for 2 hours, by which time the beans should be tender. At this point add the sugar, lemon juice, and tomato puree. Cook for another 30 minutes. Add salt if necessary.
Remove the hock, and pick off any meat.
Ladle the soup into bowls, with a spoonful or two of cream stirred in, and serve with a crusty bread.
If you are feeling lavish, a couple of spoons of dark rum added towards the end give a Bajan fillip.
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