HANDS-ON TIME 20 min. TOTAL TIME 1 hr. 10 min., plus overnight soaking
Rinse 2 lb. dried black beans. In an 8-qt. pot cover with 4 inches cold water. Refrigerate overnight. (To quick-soak: Boil rapidly 1 minute. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 1 hour.)
Add 1 halved onion, 2 peeled garlic cloves,
1 bay leaf, ¹∕2 cinnamon stick, 1 dried ancho chile, and a handful fresh herb sprigs, such as oregano or cilantro. (Tie stems with twine.) Add additional cold water to cover by 4 inches. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to mediumlow. Simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes or until just tender, stirring occasionally. Add 1 Tbsp. coarse salt. Cook 20 to 30 minutes more or until soft. Let cool in cooking liquid. Discard bay leaf, cinnamon, chile, and herbs. Makes 10 cups.