I started with a black bean soup mix from the Women's Bean Project. I'm not usually much of a make-it-from-a-mix gal, but these aren't really that sort of mix. You get a bag of beans, a little packet of spices and some instructions.
The company itself supports women who need help getting back on their feet, so it's a good cause. And it's a local company.
Since the company is very local, I can find these at most of the grocers around here. They also sell their products online. For more info, I wrote about the company here.
Of course, this would work perfectly well if you started with regular dried beans and your own spices. The mix included 3/4 pound of beans and a small pack of mixed spices.
If you happen to be all out of ponce, (and I mean, really, how is that possible?) you could use ham or smoked sausage instead.
Black Bean Soup with Ponce
1 pkg. Women's Bean Project black bean soup mix
2 bay leaves
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons tomato powder (or tomato paste)
Water and/or stock, as needed
Salt, to taste
2 cups ponce, diced
Cooked white rice, for serving
Diced raw onion, for serving (optional)
Soak the beans overnight in water. I used a cast iron Dutch oven, which was also what I used for cooking. No need to dirty an extra pot or bowl.
The next day, drain the beans, then add water (or stock) to cover them by at least a few inches Bring to a boil, skim of any foam that rises to the top, then lower to a simmer.
Add the 2 bay leaves and cook until the beans are just about tender - figure 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add water or additional stock as needed during cooking, and stir occasionally to keep the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pot. You want this to be a soup, not refried beans.
Cook until the onions are and beans are cooked through - another 20-30 minutes should be fine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired. Remove the bay leaves.
Serve topped with cooked white rice and some diced raw onion.