Epazote, an aromatic herb also known as wormseed or skunkweed, is traditionally used in black bean dishes in Mexico. It’s no wonder. as it is an anti-carminative, it reduces gas. You’ll find it sold ground or dried on the branch.
3 unpeeled cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 jalapeno chiles, halved and seeded
5 sprigs thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
6-ounce can tomato paste
2 cups water
1 teaspoon ground or dried epazote
1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Tie the garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeños, thyme, and peppercorns in cheesecloth square.
In a large pot, combine the tomato paste, epazote, and the 1 teaspoon salt. Add the black beans and cheesecloth square. Add water as necessary to cover the beans by 2 inches.
Bring the beans to a simmer. Cover and cook stirring frequently, until tender, 3 to 4 hours. Add water during the cooking process to keep the beans submerged in liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, remove the cheesecloth bag, and spoon beans into large, warmed soup bowls.