Also called Turtle beans these small, black legumes are a powerhouse of nutrition, being rich in protein, minerals and complex carbohydrates. They’re used quite a bit in the Spanish speaking Caribbean islands and in Mexico where they form the base of many recipes. The delicious mild, rich and flavourful taste of black beans would encourage you to enjoy them in a myriad of ways, stewed, in salads, with rice in a cook-up, in a dip and even in a Chili as well. You prepare them very much the same way you would other dried peas, but you’ve got to soak them for a couple of hours before boiling them, they also freeze quite well so you can pull them out of your freezer and enjoy them any time. Here are some recipes to get you started!
To prepare black beans
Rinse one pound of beans and place them in a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak overnight. The next day place beans with the water into a stock pot, add one large chopped onion, one bay leaf and a pinch of brown sugar. Bring the beans to a boil. Lower the heat to low medium and simmer for 1 ½ hours or until tender. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
BLACK BEAN SALSA
2 cups uncooked black beans
4 cloves minced garlic
3 tbs lime juice
3 tbs, vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin, ground and roasted
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 hot pepper seeded and chopped, Congo
1/2 cup unflavoured yogurt
1/2 cup chopped shadow beni
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
Soak beans overnight and cook for about one hour until soft, drain and cool.
Chop beans in food processor, add garlic, lime juice, cumin, coriander, olive oil and hot pepper.
Stir in cream cheese and shadow beni.
Season with salt and black pepper
Sprinkle with chives and serve with tortilla chips.
BLACK BEAN SOUP
1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
4 tbs. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs fresh thyme
2 onions, chopped
2 pimento peppers.seeded and chopped
2 tsp ground roasted cumin (geera)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tbs salt
1 tbs freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 tbs. sherry
1/2 cup chopped fresh chadon beni
unflavoured thick yogurt for garnish
Soak beans overnight in four quarts of water, drain.
In a large soup pot heat olive oil, add garlic, thyme, onion and pepper saute for a couple of minutes, add black beans, stir and add enough water to cover beans (about six to eight cups).
Add cumin, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, salt and black pepper and chives.
Bring to a boil cover and simmer, for about two hours.
To texturise the soup, puree half the beans in a food processor or blender, return to pot. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Add sherry. When serving place the soup in a wide rimmed soup bowl, swirl in one tbs. yogurt, and sprinkle with fresh chadon beni.
Serves six to eight
BLACK BEAN BURGERS
1 tin good quality black beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup chopped chives
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground roasted cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
In a mixing bowl crush the beans and add garlic, onion, cornmeal, chives, chili and cumin.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, bring the mixture together with your hand.
Heat a non stick frying pan then add some olive oil, form the mixture into patties.
Pan fry for about three minutes per side.
Serve with baked sweet potato wedges and a green salad.
Serves three to four