For details, hints and serving suggestions, go to The Sneaky Kitchen
- 8 cups water (or 7 if using 14 oz or 15 oz pkg of beans)
- 1 lb black beans, dried (about 2½ cups)
- 2 Ham hocks or 1 Ham end or Ham bone with some meat
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 2 med onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 med green bell peppers, washed and cubed
- 2 med carrots, scrubbed and scraped
- 4 garlic cloves, mashed or chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 1½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- Pick over and rinse the beans.
- Cover with half the water and set aside to soak.
- Place the ham hocks or ham bone in a pressure cooker or in a covered saucepan if you don't have a pressure cooker.
- Add the rest of the water and the bay leaf. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, or in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until meat is nearly tender.
- Remove from heat. Take out the bay leaves. Skim off the fat, or run broth through a gravy separator.
- Return the broth to the pan.
- Add the beans with the water in which they were soaking.
- Add the onions, green pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic and black pepper.
- While it is coming to a boil, cut the carrots into 3" long pieces. Slit each one into quarters lengthwise to make skinny three-inch long strips.
- Add to beans.
- Cap and bring up to pressure. As soon as it is fully pressurized, turn very low and cook for 20 minutes. In a regular saucepan, bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer until beans are tender.
- Remove the ham to a plate.
- Ladle about a third of the beans into a blender or food processor (a hand held blender works well too) with as little liquid and vegetables as possible. Process until creamy.
- Scrape bean puree back into the pan.
- Cut the ham from the bones; cut into pieces, including the skin, removing all visible fat. Return the meat to the beans, discarding the bones.
- Add salt, vinegar and olive oil. Stir to mix. Check seasonings. You may add more salt, black pepper, or even hot pepper sauce if a spicier soup is desired.