If you have a pressure cooker, add the beans to the pot, cover with 2 inches of water, and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure release naturally (about 10 minutes). If you don’t have a pressure cooker, add them to a regular pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.
Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside. Drain the rest of the beans, then add to a blender, along with all remaining ingredients (except garnish).
Blend on high, until a smooth and creamy consistency is formed. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add the reserved liquid to thin it out, 1 tablespoon as a time, as you like.
Taste and adjust any seasonings as you like.
You can serve right away, by pouring into a bowl and adding garnish, or you could also reheat in a small pan on the stove top, so that it is served warm. Traditionally it is served warm with bread.
Turn this into a soup by reserving all the cooking liquid, and adding it into the blender about a half cup at a time, until your desired soup-like consistency is formed.