BLACK BEAN SOUP WITH LIME (for eight)
1 large ham hock (about ¾ pound)
3 quarts plus 1 cup water
1 pound dried black beans, picked over, soaked in cold water to cover overnight and drained
1 red onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bay leaf
a 28 to 32 ounce can whole tomatoes with juice, chopped
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
fresh lime slices for garnish
1. In a 5-quart kettle simmer ham hock in 3 quarts water, covered, 1 hour. Add beans, onion and bay leaf and simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, or until beans are just tender. Stir in tomatoes with juice, salt, and remaining cup water and simmer soup 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender. The soup may be made 1 day ahead, cooled completely and chilled, covered.
2. Remove ham hock and discard or reserve for another use. Discard bay leaf and stir in lime juice to taste. Garnish each serving with lime slices.
adapted from The Best of Gourmet, 1996