The black bean (aka ‘turtle’ bean), is a small, shiny bean that’s highly popular in Latin American cuisine. Here in the UK, though, this little bean tends to get neglected in favour of its big red brother, the kidney bean. It’s a shame because its flavour and texture is way superior to its big brother (in my opinion!) For me, the black bean has a beautiful smoky flavour and ‘meaty’ texture that makes it the perfect bean to add to our home-cooked Latin American dishes.
I think it’s high time we gave this fantastic bean the recognition it deserves!
One of my favourite ways of serving black beans is in a richly flavoured soup. For children, the soup can easily be blended to produce a smoother soup.
For lunch or a light dinner, we like to serve this soup with a couple of segments of wholegrain tortilla. For a main dinner, we often add a side dish of cornbread.
Here’s how we make it…
Mexican Black Bean Soup
Hands on time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
¼ -½ tsp chilli powder (use mild chilli powder for children)
1 large carrot, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
2 x 400ml / 14oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained (about 2 cups cooked beans)
130g / 4½ oz / 1 cup sweet corn
1 x 400ml / 14oz can chopped tomatoes
800 ml / 27 fl oz / 3 1/3 cups vegetable stock
cayenne pepper (for a spicy kick)
handful coriander (cilantro), chopped
red bell pepper or chilli, finely chopped (for garnish)
- Gently heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, sweet potato, cumin, paprika and chilli powder. Cover with a lid and leave to sweat on a very low heat for 10 minutes. Add the beans, sweet corn, chopped tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables are tender. Allow the soup to cool slightly, then pour half the soup into a blender and blend smooth. Return it to the pan with the remaining soup and gently heat through. (Note: small children may prefer their soup completely smooth. In this case, simply add more soup to the blender). Season the soup to taste. If you’d like to give the soup a spicy kick, first remove any children’s portions then add a pinch of cayenne pepper and more chilli powder, if desired.
- Serve in warm bowls with a sprinkling of coriander and red pepper or chilli for garnish. This soup is delicious served with a side serving of toasted tortilla segments and/or corn bread.
Toasted Tortilla Segments
These crispy tortilla segments are a great accompaniment for many dishes. Stored in an airtight container, they will keep for at least a week.
Hands on time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Ready in: 5 minutes
2-3 wholegrain tortillas
Paprika or cayenne pepper, optional
- Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5.
- Place the tortillas on a wire rack. If you wish, you can sprinkle them with paprika or cayenne pepper, for a spicy kick. Bake for 7 minutes or so, until lightly browned. Watch closely towards the end of the cooking time as they can burn quickly! Remove from the oven and slice immediately into wedges. As they cool, the tortillas will crisp up. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.
Have a great weekend everyone
Do you cook with black beans? If so, what’s your favourite recipes? If you’ve published any recipes online, do post the links below x