Cuban Black Bean Soup

From ‘Soups from a Monastery Kitchen’ by Brother Victor-Antoine. Arcadia publishing 1996

16 oz (450g) dried black beans
5 pints (2.8l) water
4 fl oz (120ml) olive oil
3 onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
3 tsp sugar
4 tsp vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of cumin
1. Soak the beans overnight. Rinse and discard the water. Place the beans and water into a large soup pot. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook the beans slowly for 1 hour or until the beans are tender.
2. Pour the oil into a separate pot, add the onions, pepper and garlic. Sauté lightly for 2-3 min.
3. Remove 1 cup of cooked beans from the large pot and puree. Add the puree to the sautéed vegetables and mix well. Add the whole mixture to the rest of the beans in the soup pot. 
4. Add the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and cumin. Stir well, cover the pot and simmer for about 45-50 min. Remove the bay leaf and let the soup stand, covered, for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.