Black bean soup can be made brothy, which I don't like, or can be pureed, which my husband-with-texture-issues would not touch; but I come up with a happy medium by long, slow cooking. Warning: If you don't have a 7-quart pot, just make half a batch in a 4- or 5-quart pot. I used a 6-quart pot for the double batch and it nearly overflowed; couldn't add the chicken broth until the soup had cooked down a bit!
Black bean soup made with dried beans takes a while (which is why I wanted to make a huge batch--it freezes well). If you're in a hurry, try my Black Bean Soup - Made with Canned Beans instead. But if you have time, use the dried beans. I prefer them, and they are much cheaper! Do the math: 1 pound of organic dried black beans for $2 to $3 equals 4 15-ounce cans of organic black beans for a total of about $8.
Black Bean Soup
(Makes about 5 quarts)
2 pounds dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
3 quarts water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Rinse and pick over beans to remove any debris. In 7-quart pot, soak beans overnight (8 to 24 hours) in 4 quarts of water salted with 3 tablespoons of salt.
2 In 7-quart stockpot, heat olive oil and cook chopped vegetables about 15 minutes until softened. (I would love to have the All-Clad Stainless 7-Quart Stockpot with Pasta Insert!
3 Drain and rinse soaked beans, and add to vegetables in stockpot. Add 3 quarts fresh water. Bring to a boil. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar. Reduce heat and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
4 Add remaining ingredients. Continue simmering for 3 hours. Actually, I like to cook it down even more.