Potaje de Frijoles Negros (Black Bean Soup)

Yields 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 lb dry black beans
¾ liter water
1 green pepper; cut half into small dices, keep the other half
1 bay leaf
2 ounces of bacon, cut into 1-inch squares
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

1. Spread the beans and pick through them, removing any foreign matter or bits of stem. Rinse them well and soak the beans overnight.

2. Drain the beans and place them in a large pot and add enough water to cover them. Add half of the green pepper in one piece and bay leaf, and bring the beans to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and gently simmer until beans are cooked, approximately 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and the green pepper.

3. Meanwhile, place the bacon pieces in a medium saucepan and cook at medium-low, until browned and crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel. Prepare the sofrito by draining off excess fat leaving just 1 tablespoon in the pan; add olive oil, onion and let it cook at medium-low heat for approximately 4 minutes, until golden. Add the other half green pepper cut in small dice, garlic, oregano, cumin, reserved bacon, salt and pepper and let it cook for 3 or 4 minutes more. Add the tomato sauce and cook another 5 minutes.

4. Pour the sofrito to the beans and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Smash with a fork one or two tablespoons of black beans and add to the soup to thicken. Cook for an additional 10 minutes at medium-low heat. Uncover and sprinkle the vinegar and the sugar. Stir and enjoy.

To learn more about me or my recipes, visit me at DenisseOller.com and at AARP, where I am a chef and nutrition expert.

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