It's so hard to capture the beauty of this soup in the photo. The broth's deep purple/brown/black erases the green peppers but tints the onions a soft lavender. While the traditional topping is finely minced sweet onions, this peach salsa topping (a variation on our mango salsa) adds nutrients and eye-popping contrast - and it uses some of the veggies now available at the market: hot peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes.
This recipe from one of my favorite local restaurants was published many years ago in our newspaper. My clipped copy is long gone, but it's so simple (and I've made it so many times), it's in the front of the recipe-file-in-my-head.
We made it for about 100 for last Monday's cafe. Here's how to make it for about 6-8. It can be served on white rice if you need to stretch it a little.
Emiliano's Black Bean Soup - my mental version
1 pound dried black beans
Two onions, chopped
cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Two large green peppers, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons vinegar
Salt to taste
Soak black beans for at least six hours or overnight. About an hour and a half before serving, add enough water to reach about 4 inches over the beans. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower to simmer. Check ever 30 minutes for tenderness, adding hot water if necessary; black beans are a quicker-cooking bean that can turn to unattractive mush if not careful. While beans are simmering, chop onions and mince garlic, and begin, in a separate pot, to sauté in olive oil. When onions are clear and tender, add chopped green pepper. Saute for additional couple minutes till peppers are crisply tender, add oregano and stir into vegetable mixture for a minute or so. Turn off the heat.
When beans are tender, add salt to taste, then add vinegar and honey (I think it was sugar in the original recipe). Pour onion mixture into beans (or vice versa).
Serve with the traditional minced onions on top, with store-bought salsa, or with delicious homemade mango or peach salsa.