Tuesday, 18 June 2013


I can't remember where I managed to find a bag of black beans but all I know is that I felt particularly lucky when I did. Often hard to come by in this part of Africa,

these are one of my favourite beans to cook. In a pledge to actually use up what is in my pantry cupboard , rather than just fill it until bursting, I figured it was time to get them out the bag and into the pot. Black beans make for beautiful salads during summer contrasting attractively with all kinds of tropical fruits & then they are also the perfect bean for a spicy Mexican soup come winter. So next time you get lucky and stumble across a bag, pop them into your trolley & give them a go.

Mexican Black Bean & Tomato Soup
Mexican Black Bean & Tomato Soup served with Crunchy Nachos
I cooked the beans & the stock for this recipe in my pressure cooker. The beans are a cinch, cooked in 10 minutes after soaking. I added a cinnamon quill into the bean water & the flavour extraction was incredible. If you are going to use pre cooked / tinned beans then add 1/2 a teaspoon ground cinnamon to the onions when frying. I chose to use beef stock for this recipe to get a deep, rich flavour, but feel free to use chicken or vegetable stock if you prefer. Also simply adding water if you don't have stock will make for a lighter soup, but will do fine too
Substitute red kidney beans if you can't get your hands on black beans
serves 4
1 red onion - finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 clove garlic - chopped
1 red chilli - chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup black beans - cooked
1 fresh lime cut into quarters
fresh coriander & plain nacho chips to serve
Heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a pot, when hot add in the cumin seeds then the chopped onions a few seconds after. Fry the onion until soft then add in the chopped chilli & garlic. Fry for another minute before adding in the tin tomato, sugar & stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer & cook for 20 minutes. Puree /blend the soup at this point if you prefer, otherwise leave it chunky. Season to taste with the salt then add in the beans and heat through.
Serve each bowl by first squeezing over a wedge of lime juice. Then take a handful of nacho chips and crush them over & finally top with some fresh coriander.

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