Luckily I love black beans and so does my family. Xavier, following in his mother's ''wanna-be-latino'' footsteps, chants rice and beans the way most kids say mac n' cheese. The new Smitten Kitchen Cookbook has a simple recipe for black beans in the slow cooker that I have put into rotation about once a week. If you feel like splurging (or are annoyed with the relatives on your holiday list), you can serve this with pickled red onions, avocado, cilantro, etc. but it works well on its own too.
In a large 6-quart slow cooker, combine one chopped onion, 3-5 minced garlic gloves, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 dried chile, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, and 1 lb ( 2 1/4 cups) of dried black beans. Cover with 8-10 cups of broth or water depending on how soupy you like your beans. Cook for about 6 hours on high and then mix in a tablespoon of lime juice.