Black Bean and Roasted Pepper Soup

I created this soup in an attempt to copy a fine one which was served at the West Side Cafe in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  When made with fresh ingredients, it is truly "company" fare.  The strange scent of fresh epazote mutates and adds a complementary musky flavor.

Lynn Ashley, Arlington Virginia, Fall 1991.

(Published in "The Herb Companion" magazine, Dec 1991/Jan 1992 issue, p17.)

1    lb      dried black beans, washed well and picked over
14   oz can  chicken stock
             water to cover by about 1 1/2"
1/4  cup     olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
1    lg      onion, chopped
3-6  lg      garlic, cloves, chopped
1    TBS     cumin
1/4  tbs     cloves, ground
1    lg      bay leaf
1-2  lg      chilies, hot, dried
1.5  tsp     salt (or to taste)
6-10 leaves  epazote, fresh
1    tsp     oregano, fresh
1    lg      red sweet pepper, fresh
l    lg      yellow sweet pepper, fresh
1    lg      green sweet pepper, fresh
3-4  med     mild chili peppers, fresh
2    med     tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and coarsely chopped
2    med     corn-on-cob, fresh ears

Add beans, stock and water to cover.  Add oil, onion, garlic, cumin, cloves, bay leaf and dried chili.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cover for about 2 1/2 hours or until tender.  Add water as required to keep beans covered with liquid.  When almost tender stir-in salt, epazote and oregano. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile (or previously) roast, peel, deseed and chop the peppers into course strips.  Peel, deseed and coarsely chop the tomatoes.  Cut the corn from the cobs.  Add the peppers, tomatoes, corn and their juices to the soup.  Add water as required to form a thick soup consistency.  Increase heat to medium.

When heated through, remove the bay leaf and dried chili and serve.  Soup should be served very warm but not boiling.  Corn bread and a light-bodied red wine are an excellent accompaniment.

Leftover soup may require additional thinning with water.

By Lynn Ashley, Fall 1991., 19981228.