BLACK BEAN SOUP
1 pound dried black beans
3 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
sugar and salt to taste
1 red onion, diced, for garnish
8 ounces sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Place the beans in a nonreactive pan, cover with the 3 quarts of water, add the bay leaves, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover tightly and simmer for 2-3 hours (stir often and add water if needed) .
Heat oil in a sauté pan, sauté the peppers, shallots, and onions over medium heat until the onions are translucent (12-15 minutes). Add the garlic, cumin, dried and fresh oregano, and sauté 2 minutes, remove from heat and let cool a little then purée until smooth.
When the beans are almost tender, remove the bay leaves, add the puréed mixture, sugar, and salt to the beans and cook until tender (20 to 30 minutes). Adjust seasonings, garnish with the red onion and sour cream, and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.