I'm immensely tardy writing up my experience with this recipe, since I prepared it last Saturday, but better late than never. Max wanted me to ping her when I tried out a new recipe, so here you go. I'd rank this recipe a low-intermediate difficulty. Not nearly as much work as my most time-consuming favorites, but not the simplest to prepare either. Total prep and cook time was in the neighborhood of two hours.
The result, to my tastebuds, was excellent. Without the addition of fats or creams, the soup was rich and creamy in texture. I used black turtle beans, and they kept their integrity enough to lend a nice texture and chew to the soup. For my own portions, I added a simple topping of mushed avocado and diced onion. Definitely try that.
My daughter, Renee, who is not all that fond of soup or beans (other than canned baked beans) gave it an unqualified thumbs up. Okay, she qualified it with the "even though I don't like soup..." line.
Jean was sitting next to me the evening I made it, and had just put a spoonful into her mouth, when she looked at me like she'd found a bug in it. Wide eyed, pausing in mid-masticulation. Then she said, "... this is so good!"
So there you have it. If you like soup, or black beans, try it out. The link leads to America's Test Kitchen online, and they annoyingly insist on a registration email, but they are not really that spammy, so I think it's worth it. But you better hurry. The recipe is free for now, but once the program's television season is over, they'll move it behind the online subscription firewall.