Spicy Black Bean Soup

From the Enchantment Resort, Sedona
via the San Jose Mercury News

It was my turn to host the dinner club. It was December and chilly in California. I found this recipe in the Merc News (a great source of recipes) and we all loved it. Absolutely heart warming. A bit spicy and full of flavor.

A. black beans 1 pound rinsed and any rocks removed 
water 2 quarts  

Place black beans in a large bowl. Cover with unsalted water. Soak overnight.
Drain and rinse beans.
B. olive oil 1/2 cup  
bacon 8 ounces diced
yellow onion 1 1/2 cup diced
  garlic 2 tablespoons chopped

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot until shimmering.
Add bacon, onions and garlic.
Reduce heat to low and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. 
C. rehydrated beans from above  
chicken stock, unsalted 3 quarts  
ham hock 1 hock ask your butcher to cut it into thirds
  cumin, ground 1 tablespoon  
  oregano, dried 1 teaspoon  
  cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon  
  bay leaf 1 leaf  
  salt 2 teaspoons  
  black pepper, ground 2 teaspoons  
  cilantro 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped

Add beans, ham hock and only 2 quarts of the chicken stock.
Add cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and cilantro. 
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered. 
Check and stir every 20 minutes to make sure the beans are not burning; reduce heat if necessary. 
As the liquid evaporates add more of the remaining chicken stock.
Continue cooking for 2 hours, or until beans are tender and liquid is reduced to about 1 1/5 quarts. 
D. red bell pepper 1/4 cup chopped
Anaheim chili 1 small seeded and diced
dry sherry 1 1/4 cup  
  brown sugar 2 teaspoons  
  lemon juice 2 teaspoons  
  sour cream 8 ounces  

Remove the ham hock from the pot, pull off the meat and add it back into the pot; discard the bone. Stir in red pepper, chili, 2 tablespoons sherry, brown sugar, and lemon juice.

Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve with a bit of sherry and a spoon of sour cream in each bowl.