Spicy Black Bean Soup - Perfect Entertaining
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Spicy Black Bean Soup

This is probably my favorite Halloween soup. Although the flavor is excellent and it is a great treat all year long, it is truly the appearance that gets raves. I serve this soup in wide shallow bowls and pipe sour cream spider webs onto the top. Kids and adults love it. If you are making this soup for children, I would adjust the spices. I normally will spoon the children's soups first. Add more spices, simmer while I decorate the children's soup bowls, and then spoon the adult's soups. It seems to work very well, although the flavor is not as good. If you have the room split the soup in half after adding the tomatoes and only season one of the batches. This soup is quick and easy to make, especially if you use canned beans. If you use canned beans, just reserve one cup of the liquid they were canned with and drain and rinse the beans well.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium chopped onions
4 minced garlic cloves
2 teaspoons minced crumbled dried thyme
5 cups cooked black beans, with one cup of cooking liquid reserved
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons tabasco sauce

Place the butter and oil in a large soup kettle and melt over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for an additional three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove three cups of the soup from the pot and in three batches (do not process all at once because a lot of hot black bean soup will be all over your ceiling!) process the three cups of soup until smooth, adding the puree back to the soup after it is pureed. Reheat until the soup is thoroughly warmed again. Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with sour cream.

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