Posted by: Rachael | June 4, 2008

Black Bean Soup

Just perfect for one of the first days of winter (there, I said it….winter)
The inspiration came from Sandra’s Soup, but we deviated so far from her recipe that I’m writing out our own. She asked us to use sherry – I had Southern Comfort or whiskey. She called for limes – we picked a still-green lemon off the tree. Sandra suggested sour cream – we used up past-its-use-by-date-cream and a tin of coconut cream… get the idea.

450 g dried black turtle beans
2 bay leaves
2l water
Boil together for a couple of hours until squishy, adding water as necessary (or in my version, boil for five minutes and then hide the pot in the cooking bag for a few hours)

200ml extra virgin olive oil
2 large red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
Fry up (Sandra was much more specific in her instructions: “Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and saute the peppers, shallots and onions until the onions are translucent – about 15 minutes.”)

8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T ground cumin
2 T ground dried oregano (which we didn’t have so we used fresh sage)
zest of 1 lime
Add to the frypan for a few minutes (you’re meant to puree this…..but there’s No Way On Earth. Not round here. End Of Story.)

0.5 T sugar
1 T salt
2 T dry sherry (we used Southern Comfort, remember)
Once the beans are squishy, add this to the pot along with the not-puree-ed ingredients above.

Apart from garnishings, that’s supposed to be it.
But we added….
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 small tin of tomato paste
1/3 bottle of old cream (as opposed to the called-for sour cream)
1 tin coconut cream

And it tasted delish.
Even though we didn’t add any of Sandra’s garnishes:
1 red onion, diced, to serve
coriander, chopped
250 ml sour cream to serve




  1. Glad you enjoyed it. I think black beans-onions-garlic-red peppers are the core and anything else is an effective variation on the theme.

    I’ve lined up a lima bean and pumpkin recipe for our next new foray into from-scratch-bean cooking. I’ll keep you posted…

  2. I wonder if the olive oil is *core* too – there’s LOTS of it and probably adds to the depth of flavour!

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