Oh black bean soup! Is there anything like you in the dead of winter? I think not.
I'm going to write all about this soup but first I was just reflecting on how probably a vegetarian would look at this and think--oh! Soup for me! But sadly no, the recipe calls for ham hocks (which is not to say it couldn't be made WITHOUT ham hocks, of course it can. But for the cook-through blogger one must follow the recipe, the first time at least!)
And this reflection had me remembering how in my old job there were three vegetarians I had to sometimes consider in meal planning, and two sort-of-partial vegetarians. I made soup from The Gourmet Cookbook so often (and was so vexed by how a soup that one might THINK would be vegetarian actually wasn't) that I actually went through the soup chapter and put a "V" next to the soups that qualified. As vegetarian.
So here I am, looking at the page that has the Black Bean Soup with Rum recipe, and the other three recipes also involve beans, and NONE of them is vegetarian. Somehow that is weird.
Anyway, vegetarians don't forget that Gourmet Today has an ENTIRE chapter dedicated to vegetarian entrees, plus other vegetarian things scattered throughout the book (with a handy index to find them). You should buy that book if you haven't already.
So, Black Bean Soup with Rum! I did the quick-soak with my dried black beans, then sauteed onions, celery, parsley and thyme sprigs with a bay leaf for a while...then added salt pork (they were out of ham hocks--guess everybody had the same idea I did) and beans and stock and water and cooked the dickens out of it for three hours.
Then I took the salt pork out (also the bay and thyme sprigs), added 1/3 cup dark rum (hello Sailor Jerry's) and some lemon juice and used my nifty immersion blender to blendify it. Then I put it through a fine-mesh sieve to get the non-blendified stuff out. By the way, this is in place of using a food mill, which, as you may have read elsewhere on this blog, I hate and will not use.
Then! Dish it up and garnish with a lemon slice, chopped hard-boiled egg, and minced parsley! Ta-da!
I would like to nominate the lemon slice garnish for this soup as Stupidest Garnish Ever. You can't eat it, and when you fish it out it is pretty much impossible to squeeze for juice (and if you tried you would get soup all over your fingers). Basically it's a visual. If I had a category for Stupid Garnishes I would put this one in it, but I only have one for Stupid Recipes (of which happily there are very few!). And this one is NOT a stupid recipe--it's good! Try it! It will make you warmer!