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Tiffany's Saloon Bean Pot Soup

"This soup probably was the best known item served at Tiffany's Saloon in Cerillos, New Mexico. The saloon, operating in the Territorial period, was one block east of the hotel where Governor Lew Wallace finished writing his famous "Ben Hur". Tiffany's burned to the ground March 15, 1977. This recipe was made public by the restaurant."

Serves 8 to 10

2 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
1 pound ham, cubed
1 (22 ounce) can tomato juice
4 cups chicken broth
3 onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic minced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon rosemary leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
4 whole cloves
1 cup sherry

Soak the beans in water overnight in a large Dutch oven.

Drain and return to the pot. Add 4 cups fresh water and remaining ingredients, except for the sherry. Bring to a boil, cover and cook slowly until the beans are tender, about 3 hours.

Stir in the sherry and serve in generous soup bowls topped with chopped scallions if desired.