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Black Bean Soup

10 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)

 1 cup boiling water

1 1/2 c. finely chopped onions

 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

 1 jalapeno chile, minced or 1/4 t. cayenne

 2 T. vegetable oil

 1 t. ground cumin

 1/3 c. water

 3 c. undrained canned tomatoes (28 oz can)

 4 c. undrained cooked black beans (2 16 oz cans)

 1.4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

 Additional water or tomato juice

 Yogurt or sour cream


In a small bowl, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with the boiling water and set aside. In a soup pot, saute the onion, garlic, and chile or cayenne in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Add the cumin, 1/3 c. water, and the juice from the tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes by squeezing them into the soup pot, or chop them coarsely right in the can and add them to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for five minutes. Add the black beans and their liquid, and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain and chop the softened sun-dried tomatoes. Add them to the soup and cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until the onions are tender. Stir in the cilantro and remove the soup from the heat. Puree half of the soup in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add some water or tomato juice. Reheat gently. Serve each bowl of soup with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

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