Makes 6 servings.
- 1 pound dry black beans, sorted and rinsed
- 1 x 14½-ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 smoked ham hock or ham bone
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
- ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups hot cooked rice
- ½ cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup picante sauce
- Cover beans with water; soak overnight.
- Drain beans and place in large saucepan or Dutch oven.
- Add tomatoes with juice, celery, onion, green pepper, ham hock, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper, thyme, chicken broth and water; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 4 to 5 hours or until beans are tender; stir occasionally.
- Add more water if necessary during simmering.
- Remove and discard bay leaf.
- Remove ham hock and cut meat off bone; return meat to beans.
- Puree half of soup in blender or food processor; return to pan.
- Season soup with salt and black pepper.
- Serve soup with rice, cheese, sour cream and picante sauce.