Black Bean Soup with
Lemon Chicken Sausage

Beans are one of the most ancient foods used by man. They were once dried and stored for the winter. They are actually the seeds from the pods on plants called legumes. Beans should be used within a year from the purchase date. Black turtle beans are popular in Latin America and the Caribbean. Serve this soup in shallow bowls with sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.


    2 cups black turtle beans
    6 cups cold water for soaking
    12 cups cold water
    ¼ cup chicken base
    2 tablespoons butter
    4 lemon chicken sausages
    1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
    ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
    3 dried bay leaves
    4 teaspoons dried oregano
    4 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    ¾ teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
    ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
    1 cup cooked long-grain rice
    Sour cream for garnish

1.  Day 1: Rinse the beans in running water in a colander. Soak
     the beans in a plastic or glass bowl with 6 cups of water.
     Leave to soak overnight.

2.  Day 2: Drain the beans and rinse well.

3.  In a 12-quart stockpot, stir the beans, 12 cups cold water and   
     chicken base. Bring to a boil over high heat.

4.  While the beans are heating, melt the butter in a 5-quart sauté
     pan, over medium heat. Remove the sausage from the casing
     and fry until crumbly and browned. Add the chopped onion
     and fry until the onions are just translucent.

5.  Stir in the lemon juice, bay leaves, oregano, garlic, parsley,      
     pepper and paprika. Spoon this mixture into the beans.

6.  Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. The lid should
     have open air holes or leave a wooden spoon in the pot to
     keep the lid tilted so steam can escape. Set timer for 2 hours
     and stir occasionally.

7.  Add the rice and stir well. Continue to stir uncovered until  
     soup reduces to 4 quarts or has thickened slightly. The beans
     and the rice will be rolling as the soup simmers.

8.  Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls.

9.  Top each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream. A sprig
     of cilantro makes a pretty garnish.

     Makes 4 quarts soup