This is one of the few recipes that I've had so long, I can't remember where I got it. I wrote it in longhand on a quarter piece of paper that I reused from my office; the date of the original printout, visible on the back, was 06/03/94, so it was some time after that, but I was most likely still in my twenties. The recipe has been made many times; the paper has countless spills and stains on it.
With my interest in simple, whole foods stronger than ever, as well as my interest in recipes with ingredients I can grow myself, black bean soup deserves a much more frequent rotation in my cooking repertoire. It takes some time, but it is very adaptable to cooking in the slow cooker, or even on top of a wood stove, while I do other things.
Black bean soup
16 oz (2 cups) black beans, soaked (overnight, or boiled 1 minute then soaked 1 hour)
6 cups chicken broth (I use store bought organic broth, although I don't like all the packaging)
Bring to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; simmer 1 1/2- 2 hours until beans are tender. I did this part in the slow cooker yesterday, 5 hours on high, and the beans weren't quite as tender as I would have liked. I like them when they are almost falling apart.
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 diced jalapeno, optional
Saute these while the beans are cooking. After a few minutes, add 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced, and saute a few minutes more. Add to the beans and broth. Then add:
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium potato, shredded
Splash of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer one hour. Serve with fresh bread or garlic toast.