Black Bean Soup
1) In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 small red onion, finely chopped, and cook about 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. Add 4 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 3/4 teaspoon oregano. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add 4 cups water, three 15-ounce cans of drained and rinsed black beans, 1/8 teaspoon green pepper sauce (Tabasco brand jalapeno sauce), 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
2) Remove soup from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves. Using an immersion blender (or regular blender, working in batches - do not fill more than halfway), puree soup until smooth.
3) Ladle into bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve with lime wedges. Note: sprinkle diced cooked ham over soup in this step, if using.