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.
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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.