Gloria’s Black Bean Soup

1 pound dried black beans
3 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 ˝ tbsp sugar
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 water, add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans for 2 ˝ to 3 hours, stirring frequently and adding more water if necessary to keep them well covered.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet. Saute the bell peppers, shallots, and onions over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, dried and fresh oregano, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.

When the beans are almost tender, add the pureed mixture, sugar, and salt to the beans and cook until just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Adjust the seasonings, garnish with the red onion and sour cream, and serve.

-Nuevo Latino