Preparation / Directions:
Combine beans and bay leaves with 3 quarts water in large pot; bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender; remove bay leaves and reserve. Saute onions, garlic, cumin powder, oregano and cayenne pepper in oil in nonstick pan over medium high heat until onions are tender; add to beans. Puree about half of soup mixture in food processor or blender; return to pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt. Stir in sherry, lime juice and brown sugar. Serve with garnishes*, if desired.
*Garnishes: plain low fat yogurt, sliced red pepper or radishes, lime slices, minced cilantro or parsley.