Crab, Leek and Black-Bean Chowder

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale-green portions)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups cooked black beans (either canned, or cook 1 cup dried beans according to package directions)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 pound cooked Dungeness crabmeat
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
2 cups finely sliced, young, fresh spinach leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil and saute the leeks and garlic until soft but not brown, for about 10 minutes. Add the broth, wine, beans and tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes to merge flavors. Add the crab, basil and spinach and cook until crab is thoroughly heated. Adjust seasonings, adding the salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 generous servings.


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