Black Bean Soup



  1. Cover beans with cold water by 3 inches in a bowl and soak at room temperature at least 8 hours, but better overnight. Drain in a colander and rinse.
  2. Heat a heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings (more or less.
  5. In the same pot, sauté the onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery in the bacon drippings, stirring occasionally (but thoroughly at first to mix), until vegetables start to soften, about 8 minutes.
  6. Add garlic, oregano, cumin, pepper and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, until you can smell the garlic, but before it starts to brown.
  7. Add drained beans, broth or water, and most of the cooked bacon to the vegetables.
  8. Bring beans to a simmer and let cook for 2+ hours, or until tender (depending on how long you soaked the beans, they can be tender at 1 ½hours or less, even—the pot will come to a simmer faster if you preheat your broth or water in a microwave). .
  9. Check for salt (if you use water you will definitely need to add it, and maybe with broth as well).
  10. Remove bay leaves (if you can find them) and serve topped with the rest of the bacon, cheese, and sour cream.