- 2½ cups dried black beans, soaked-overnight
- 1 large or 2 small ham hocks
- 3 to 3.5 quarts water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 to 3 large onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 small [f[fresh chile pepper|fresh green peppers]] - jalapenos preferred
- 8 berries allspice coarsely-crushed
- 2 tsp brown sugar (or 1 tsp of molasses)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- ¾ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- grated rind and juice from one lemon
- Put the drained beans and hock in a very large pan, cover with the cold water and bring gradually to a boil.
- Leave to simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a frying pan heat the olive oil, then gently fry the onion, garlic and chile with the allspice and lemon rind, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.
- Add this mixture to the beans and go on simmering for 2 hours, by which time the beans should be tender.
- At this point add the sugar, lemon juice, and tomato puree.
- Cook for another 30 minutes.
- Add salt if necessary.
- Remove the hock, and pick off any meat.
- If you would like a smooth soup, as mine (the author) was, process the mixture in batches and return with the meat to the pan.
- Otherwise, for a rougher texture crush with a potato masher.
- If the mixture seems too thick at this stage, add more water and bring back to the boil for a minute or two.
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