We're on a bit of a legume jaunt at Village Wholefoods at the moment. Last month I was looking to bring a touch of pizazz to the humble lentil, and the result was our Lemony Lentil Soup. This time we are taking you for a closer look at Black Turtle Beans, aka black beans.
What I've done for this recipe is bring together an aromatic tomato soup with plump and flavoursome black beans. A cosy, nutritious bowl of goodness with all the yummy add-ons that make it feel festive.
A little note about the addition of cocoa: much like unsweetened cocoa powder is used inTex-Mex dishes like chilli con carne, and traditional Mexican dishes - most famously in mole, a velvety sauce comprised of roasted chillies, spices, nuts and tomatoes, for which either cocoa powder or shavings of bitter dark chocolate can be used. I use it in this tortilla soup to bring a depth of flavour and an earthy warmth that balances the sharper elements of the dish. Try it, you won't look back!
Serve this crowd pleaser with a bounty of accompaniments so everyone can add their own toppings as desired.
150g (about a cup) dried black turtle beans, rinsed briefly under tap
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped and divided into 2 piles
4 garlic cloves - 2 left whole, 2 minced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ bunch fresh coriander - wash and finely chop the stems, then roughly chopped the leaves. Set them aside to use separately.
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp tomato paste or dried tomato powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
400 g canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 limes - 1 zested and juiced, 1 lime cut into wedges to serve
OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED GARNISHES
3 tbsp sour cream or natural yoghurt
Corn chips or tortilla chips to serve, homemade or store bought
Place beans in a large pot along with about ¼ of the chopped onion, 1 tsp salt and the 2 whole garlic cloves. Add about 2 litres of water. Cover with lid and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer gently for approx 1 hour. Check them at 15 min intervals from the 45 min mark The beans should be soft but not mushy.
Remove from heat, drain beans and set them aside. There will be bits of onion and garlic mixed in with the cooked beans - leave them with the beans, as we'll be throwing them all in the pot again shortly.
Put your pot back on the stove and set heat to medium-low. Add oil and onion, saute for about 5 mins or until translucent and soft. Add finely chopped coriander root, carrot and minced garlic, saute for 1 min. Now add cocoa, cumin, dried coriander, chilli powder and smoked paprika, saute for another minute.
Add the reserved drained turtle beans, tinned tomatoes, water, stock powder, tomato paste or powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer, replace the lid and simmer for 15 mins.
Turn off the heat. With a stick blender, roughly blend the soup (or blend it in a food processor in batches). You don't want it to be silky smooth, just partially blended.
To serve: ladle into bowls, then top with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or sour cream, a few tortilla chips, a wedge of lime and some chopped coriander.
PIMP MY RECIPE
Serve with your favourite chilli sauce or salsa. You could even add a little chimichurri, sliced jalapeños or diced avocado.
Feel like a stew rather than a soup? Just add ½ cup quinoa at the same time as you add the tomatoes, water, cooked beans etc. You could also use rice in the same way.
Clafoutis is everything I love about relaxed French cooking. It's simple, pared down, forgiving, and somehow manages to be comforting and rustic yet chic and sophisticated simultaneously. Whether you present it as dessert at a posh gathering, or throw it together for a quick family dessert or weekend breakfast, the sight of it brings a smile to everyone's face.
What exactly is clafoutis? Pronounced cla-foo-tee, it's essentially a kind of fruit flan, made with a sweet batter that's oven baked in a dish or tin with the addition of fruit generously scattered over the top.
Traditionally, clafoutis is made with fresh stone fruit - cherry is the most common. I wanted to make this recipe as adaptable as possible to whatever you happen to have in your pantry, so I've made it with some of our beautiful dried fruit.
We are a family divided when it comes to favourite flavours at our place, so I did a half and half affair. Clafoutis is a breeze to do this with, as the batter is poured into the baking dish, then the fruit scattered over afterwards. For this one I made one side with chopped dried peaches, and the other side is chopped dried banana, dessicated coconut and chocolate chips. As long as you stick to the total amount of dried fruit in my recipe, it doesn't matter what mix of fruit or additions you use.
I also did a successful experiment with this recipe. Clafoutis batter calls for pouring cream - when I realised I didn't have any cream, I substituted greek yoghurt and it was so delicious that I'll always use yoghurt in my clafoutis from now on!