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      La Belle Cuisine

A Tribute to Craig Claiborne

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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith."


"Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of
the arts, but to cook well, one must love and respect food."

~ Craig Claiborne

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The Best of Craig Claiborne: More than 1,000 Recipes from His New York Times Food Columns and Four of His Classic Cookbooks icon



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Craig Claiborne, in his New York apartment in 1990
(courtesy AP)

A Tribute to Craig Claiborne


La Belle Cuisine


Craig Claiborne's Black Bean Soup

1 pound black beans
2 ham hocks (1 1/2 lb.)
8 cups water
Salt to taste
2 cups beef or chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup peeled, seeded, diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Dry Sherry to taste

Put beans, ham hocks, water and salt in kettle and bring to boil. Cover
and let simmer between 1 hour 45 minutes and 2 hours 30 minutes, until beans are thoroughly tender. Remove ham hocks and set them aside.
Drain the beans; reserve both the beans and the cooking liquid. There
should be at least 6 cups beans and 4 cups liquid. Add enough broth to
the liquid to make 6 cups. Put beans in container of food processor or
blender and blend as thoroughly as possible. Add a little of the liquid
and continue blending. Combine the puréed beans and remaining liquid
in large bowl. Heat oil in a heavy kettle. Add peppers. onions, garlic and cumin. Cook, stirring, until onions are wilted. Add tomatoes and vinegar.
Let mixture simmer about 15 minutes over low heat. Meanwhile, remove
the meat from the skin and bones of the ham hocks and chop the meat.
There should be about 1 cup. Set the meat aside. Discard the skin and
bones. Add the puréed bean mixture to the cooked tomato mixture. Add
the chopped ham and cilantro. Serve in hot soup bowls with a tablespoon
or so of good dry sherry, if desired, in each serving. Serve with a crusty
loaf of good fresh bread.


 *The latest edition (1990) of Craig Claiborne's renowned
New York Times Cookbook, published by HarperCollins:

New York Times Cookbook 

The original 1961 edition of The New York Times Cook Book is
now out of print, but can be obtained from used book dealers.


from the introduction to Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking:

"Nothing rekindles my spirits, gives comfort to my heart and mind,
more than a visit to Mississippi... and to be regaled as I often have
been, with a platter of fried chicken, field peas, collard greens, fresh
corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes with French dressing... and to top it
all off with a wedge of freshly baked pecan pie."

Index - Craig Claiborne recipes!
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