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Caribbean Black Bean Stew

1 lb black beans
10 cups water
2 green peppers
1 bay leaf
4 slices bacon
1 large yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
1 small pumpkin (2 to 3 lbs), peeled, seeded
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
3 to 4 cups cooked white rice
sherry (opt)
hot pepper sauce

Put beans in a colander and rinse them well, turning the beans over
and over as the water runs on them and checking for any large pieces
of grit or small stones. Drain well, then put in a bowl and cover
with water. Set aside to soak overnight.

Drain beans, then put about 10 cups of water in a pan. Add the
beans, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, stem
and seed one of the green peppers. Chop it and add to beans, along
with bay leaf. Cook 1 hour, uncovered. Remove bay leaf.

Cook bacon in a skillet. When it's cooked crisp, remove it to
drain. As the bacon cooks, seed and chop the remaining green
pepper. Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Cut pumpkin into 1/2"
to 1" cubes. Add pepper, onion, garlic, pumpkin, cumin, salt and
pepper to the skillet after removing bacon. Cook vegetables about
15 minutes over medium-high heat, or until softened.

Add vegetables to beans and cook another hour, uncovered, or until
beans are tender. Cook rice.

When ready to serve, dish beans over hot rice on serving plates
and crumble a little bacon over each dish. You may want to add a
sprinkle of sherry to each one too. Pass hot red pepper sauce and
use as desired.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.


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