Black Bean Soup With Cumin

Course : Beans
Serves: 4
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2 cups dried black beans -- washed, picked over
8 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil (or 4 tablespoons unsalted butter)
2 large onions -- diced
6 cloves garlic -- minced or pureed
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 large stemmed jalapeno chile -- seeded, if desired, and finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups salsa fresca -- see * note
1 cup crema -- (or creme fraiche or sour cream)

Preparation / Directions:

* Note: See the "Salsa Fresca" and "Crema" recipes which are included in this collection. In a large saucepan over high heat, place the water and black beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are soft, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat. In another large saucepan or stockpot, heat the olive oil or butter over medium low heat. Cook the onions until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, jalapeno and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic's aroma is released, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and their liquid and mix well. Pour in the vegetable stock. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, an additional 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender in batches and puree until smooth, pulsing the machine on and off until it begins to liquefy. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish each serving with a generous tablespoonful of Salsa Fresca and Crema, Creme Fraiche or sour cream

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