Black Bean Soup from Scratch
As old as the city of Rome, it was tradition to rid your house of spirits by trapping them inside beans (a private festival known as Lemuria). On the 9th, 11th, and 13th of May, the head of the family would step outside at midnight, pace around the house barefoot, and spit nine dry black beans from his mouth while chanting the phrase "Haec ego mitto. His redimo meque meosque fabis" (These I throw. With these beans I redeem me and mine) nine times.
By morning, the beans would seemingly disappear (likely overlooked, eaten by animals, or covered in grass or dirt). It was believed that Lemures—wandering spirits who returned to their households to threaten their kin—were sucked into the beans and trapped.
Prep: 8 hrs 10 min | Cooking: 2-3 hrs | Total: 10-11 hrs
Dried black beans (2 1/2 cups)
Olive oil (1 tbsp)
Carrots, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
Onions, diced (1 1/2 cups)
Fresh garlic, minced (4 cloves)
Apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp)
Jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped (1/3 cup)
Salt (1 1/2 tsp)
Ground black pepper (1 tsp)
Cumin (1 1/2 tbsp)
Smoked paprika (1 tbsp)
Dried oregano (1 tsp)
Dried basil (1 tsp)
Cayenne (1 tbsp)
Chili powder (1 tbsp)
Orange extract (1 tsp)
Vegetable stock (8 cups)
Optional: Cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions, bacon bits
Rinse/clean beans in a colander and place them in a large bowl with water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute carrots, onions, and garlic for 8-10 minutes. Add jalapeño and vinegar and cook another minute. Stir in black beans, salt, black pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano, basil, cayenne, chili powder, and orange extract. Add stock, bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat to low, and let simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours.
Toward the end of the cooking process, use a spoon or ladle to crush/break open some of the beans against the side of the pot. Do this and stir until the soup has reached a desired thickness. Serve with toppings of cheese, sour cream, scallions, and/or bacon bits.