Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound dried black beans
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp white or cider vinegar

To garnish (optional):

  • Sour cream
  • Chopped raw onion
  • Chopped cilantro

The night before cooking the soup, place beans in a colander and wash them with cold running water. Pick out any rocks or beans that are broken or shriveled. Put the beans in a large Dutch oven or soup pot with a lid and cover with enough cold water so that it comes to one inch over the top of the beans. Soak overnight.

The next day, drain the water out of the pot and refill with clean cold water. Add enough water so that it comes an inch above the beans. Stir in the chopped onion, garlic, bacon, and olive oil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a generous quantity of black pepper.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any white foam, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 4 to 5 hours, until the beans are very soft and the soup is creamy, not watery. Check after 2 hours. If the beans seem dry or stewy, add another cup of water. The final consistency should be velvety and thick, and the soup should coat the back of a spoon. (The beans will soften in the first two hours. The goal is to continue cooking the soup until some of the beans break down and create the smooth, thick soup base.)

Stir in the vinegar and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered. Garnish with chopped raw onions, cilantro, and sour cream if desired.

From The Kitchn. Makes 4 generous servings of soup

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