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Black bean soup with cumin and tomatoes

Serves 6

Dried black beans are one of the few varieties that do not need soaking; some people think that soaking makes them break during cooking. In this soup, however, broken beans thicken the broth and give it a great texture. Even with soaking, remove several ladlefuls of beans from the pot and mash them with a fork, then stir them into the remaining soup.

1pound (2 1/2 cups) black beans, soaked for 4 hours and drained
5cups water, or more if necessary
1large onion, finely chopped
2medium carrots, finely chopped
1cup chopped canned or fresh tomatoes
2teaspoons ground cumin
1/2teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
Salt, to taste
1cup whole milk yogurt, stirred well
3tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. In a soup pot, combine the beans and water. Bring to a boil, skim the surface thoroughly, lower the heat, Notes: and cover with the lid. Simmer very gently for 30 minutes.

2. Add the onion, carrots, tomatoes, cumin, and red pepper to the pot. Stir well. If the mixture seems dry, add more water, 1/2 cup at a time.

3. Re-cover the pot and continue simmering for 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Add salt and taste for seasoning. Add more red pepper, if you like.

4. With a slotted spoon, remove about 1 cup of solids from the soup and transfer to a large plate. Use a fork to mash the mixture coarsely. Stir it into the pot. Do the same twice more. Reheat the soup and ladle it into bowls. Serve with a spoonful of yogurt and a sprinkle of parsley. Sheryl Julian

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