I soaked the beans the night before, just because I always do when I cook dried beans, but I probably didn't have to since they were cooking for 8 hours. But either way you should rinse them well anyways. In the morning I transferred the beans along with the rest of ingredients in the slow cooker, set the cooking time for 8 hours and went to work. At work I was nervous the whole time about the beans absorbing all the water and soup overflowing and getting on the counter and then the floor and my dog eating boiling hot soup off the floor and burning himself and the fire starting.... That was probably a silly concern to have, but still, the beans is what I thought about all day long... A weird thing to have on your mind, but I was very relieved not to have any firetrucks near our house when I got home.
Slow Cooker Black Bean soup
1 lbs dried black beans, rinsed well (soaking never hurts too)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 garlic cloves, diced
3 C chicken stock (may differ depending on the size of your slow cooker. You just want the beans and veggies covered)
1 Tbsp cumin
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
chopped avocado, sour cream or plain greek yogurt and cilantro, if you like it. I used parsley, since am not a fan of cilantro.
Place all the ingredients, except the vinegar, in a slow cooker. Set on 8 hours cooking time. You're done.
When the soup is cooked, puree it with an immersion blender right in the slow cooker or do it in a regular blender in portions. Add the vinegar and stir well.
Serve with some sour cream and avocado on top (avocado really does make a difference. the most delicious bites are the ones that have a piece of fresh avocado).
I also made a quick little quesadilla on the side, it went great with the soup. Allie loved to dip the triangles of quesadila in the soup and eat it that way. Very kid-friendly meal.