black bean soup with sausage

Healthy, delicious, comforting, filling.  Not to mention, it’s one of the handful of days our temps have fallen below 60 degrees all winter.  Generally, we’ve hovered in the low 70s.  Not exactly soup weather.  So, as soon as I saw the forecast, I threw some black beans in the pot to soak !
Now, let’s get back to the healthy part. This recipe makes about 8 cups, or 6 main course servings.  The nutrition stats break out like this per serving: 178 cal, 4 g fat ( 1 g saturated fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 689 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 15 g protein. It’s low-fat, heart-healthy, and full of muscle-building protein.  It’s also pretty quick to put together and there’s even a slow-cooker option posted beneath the recipe.
I serve it with some hunks of hearty, crusty bread, and it’s a wonderfully satisfying meal.  Make this a day ahead, if you can, and let the flavors blend overnight. Like a lot of soups, stews, etc., it tastes even better the next day.  Enjoy!
1 cup dry black beans
6 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
8 oz fully cooked smoked turkey sausage or Polish sausage, chopped
3 Tbsp dry sherry (optional)
Low-fat sour cream or shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
Snipped fresh parsley (optional)
1. Rinse beans. In a large saucepan or pot combine beans and the 6 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
2.  In the same pan combine beans, chicken broth, the 2 cups water, onion, celery, garlic, coriander, salt, and ground red pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
3.  Stir in sausage and, if desired, dry sherry. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more or until heated through. If desired, garnish with sour cream or shredded cheese and parsley. Makes about 8 cups (6 main dish servings).
Kitchen Notes: I used 1/8 tsp of ground red pepper and that was plenty for me.  There was definitely some heat, but not overpowering.  If you’re a fan of crock pot cooking, you can adapt the recipe this way:
Prepare as directed above in step one. In a 4 qt crock pot combine chicken broth, 2 cups water, onion, celery, coriander, garlic, salt, and ground red pepper.  Stir in beans.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.  Stir in sausage and dry sherry, if desired. Cover and cook on high-heat for about 30 minute more or until cooked through.