The first time we made this soup was for a small gathering of friends at our house. We doubled the recipe, for some reason, and found out that all our soup pans combined were not enough for the soup. So, we had to go to the church and borrow two large soup pots. Everyone left our house with a small container of soup, so that we would not be eating it for days.
2 lbs. dried black (turtle) beans
1 1/4 C. olive oil
3 C. yellow onions, diced
12 cloves garlic, crushed
1 very meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
8 qts. water
3 1/2 T. ground cumin
2 T. dried oregano
3 bay leaves
1 T. coarse salt
1 T. black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 T. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 3/4 to 2 lbs. fresh garlic sausage
6 sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1″ pieces
6 hot Italian sausage links, cut into 1″ pieces
1 lb. bratwurst, cut into 1″pieces
3 medium-size sweet red peppers, cored, seeded and diced
1/4 C. dry sherry
3 T. dark brown sugar
2 T. lemon juice
- Soak the beans in water to cover overnight.
- Heat 1 cup of the oil in a large stockpot over low heat. Add the onions, garlic and sauté until the onions are limp, about 10 minutes.
- Drain and rinse the beans and add to the stockpot.
- Add the ham bone and 6 quarts of water.
- Stir in the cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne, and 3 tablespoons of the parsley. Heat to boiling.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, at a slow rolling boil for 2 hours, skimming foam from the top and stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Place the garlic sausage in a medium-sized saucepan and add the remaining 2 quarts water. Heat to boiling.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain. Remove casings and cut into 1/2″ slices.
- Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the Italian sausages and sauté until browned.
- Remove the sausages with a slotted spoon. In the same skillet, sauté the bratwurst until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon.
- After 2 hours of cooking, process 2 cups of the beans in a food processor until smooth and return to the pot. Continue to cook for 30 minutes.
- Add all the sausages and the red peppers and cook for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the ham bone from the soup, shred the meat and return to the pot.
- Stir in the sherry, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until the beans are very soft and the soup is thick, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining 5 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle the soup into soup bowls and dollop each with sour cream.
Makes 16 portions.