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Black Bean Soup

3 CUPS SOAKED BLACK BEANS
1 1/2 TBS TOMATO PASTE
3 QTS CHICKEN OR BEEF STOCK
1 1/2 TBS CUMIN
1 CARROT, DICED
1 TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
1 MEDIUM ONION, DICED
1 TSP CHILI POWDER
2 STALKS CELERY, DICED
2 TSP ONION POWDER
3 OUNCES ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE GRILLED AND DICED
1 TSP GRANULATED GARLIC GRILLED AND DICED
2 TBS BUTTER

* BE SURE BEFORE SOAKING THE BLACK BEANS, THAT THEY ARE SORTED. THIS IS DONE BY SPREADING THEM ON A FLAT SURFACE AND PICKING OUT ANY UNDESIRABLE OBJECTS AND THEN COVERING THE BEANS WITH PLENTY OF WATER TO ALLOW FOR EXPANSION. IT IS PREFERABLE TO LET THE BEANS SOAK OVERNIGHT. THIS SOUP CAN BE MADE WITH UNSOAKED BEANS BY INCREASING THE COOKING TIME UNTIL THE BEANS ARE SOFT. WITH THE INCREASED COOKING TIME IT MIGHT BE NECESSARY TO ADD A BIT MORE STOCK ALONG THE WAY.

* IN A LARGE STOCKPOT, BRING THE STOCK AND THE BLACK BEANS TO A BOIL.

* IN A SAUTÉ PAN, SAUTÉ THE CARROT, ONION AND CELERY IN THE BUTTER UNTIL THE VEGETABLES ARE TENDER. ADD THIS MIXTURE TO THE STOCK.

* DEGLAZE THE SAUTÉ BY ADDING A CUP OR SO OF THE STOCK TO THE SAUTÉ PAN, STIR WELL AND ADD THIS BACK TO THE STOCKPOT.

* ADD ALL THE REMAINING INGREDIENTS TO THE STOCK AND REDUCE THE HEAT SO THE STOCK CONTINUES TO BOIL VERY SLOWLY.

* COOK FOR 2 TO 3 HOURS (OR UNTIL THE BEANS ARE SOFT TO THE TOUCH), STIRRING OCCASIONALLY.

* SERVE THE SOUP TOPPED WITH A SPOONFUL OF SOUR CREAM, SHREDDED CHEDDAR CHEESE, AND CHOPPED GREEN ONIONS.

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