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Spicy Red Bean Soup

1 ts Cayenne pepper
1 ts Freshly ground black pepper
2 Bay leaves, crumbled
1 ts Ground cumin
1 lb Dry red kidney beans
3 qt Water
1 1/4 lb Lean smoked ham hock
1 tb Salt
1 1/2 c Chopped celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2 ts Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
3 tb Minced fresh parsley


Place cayenne pepper, black pepper, bay leaves and cumin in center of 6-inch square of cheesecloth. Pull edges together, making a ball of the spices. Twist and tie with heavy thread.

Rinse beans and put them in large kettle with spice ball, water, ham hock, salt, celery, onion and garlic. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer covered for 3-4 hours or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, remove spice ball. Stir in Tabasco and parsley.


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