Spicy Black Bean Soup

Serves: 4

2 cups dried black beans
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 1/2 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 large carrot, chopped
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
sour cream
additional chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Place beans in a large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover beans by 2 inches. Cover and soak overnight at room temperature. Rinse and drain.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until browned and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add in the water, beans, bay leaves, chilies, carrot, and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, at least 70 minutes.

3. Attach the fruit/vegetable strainer attachment to the mixer. Set to speed 4. Run soup, one ladleful at a time through the strainer into a large bowl, with another bowl to catch the solids. Run the solids through one more time. OR process with your immersion blender, blender, or food processor.

4. Return soup to saucepan. Add chicken stock and return to a simmer over medium heat, thinning with more stock if necessary. Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and reserved bacon.