Wednesday, 19 January 2011

spicy spanish-mexican black bean stew

spicy spanish-mexican black bean stew

After discovering black turtle beans some months ago at a restaurant, Simon took an instant liking to them and wanted to utilize them for our home-cooked meals. Not long after, we made a trip to the local grocery store and got ourselves a bag of dried black turtle beans. For some reason, though, I never got around to using them until recently, when he asked if I could make a Mexican-style black bean stew for him.

black turtle beans, known as frijol negro in Spanish, feijão preto in Portuguese.

When I drafted out my idea for the recipe, I saw this as an opportunity to use my beloved Spanish hot smoked paprika, but I also took inspiration from the Mexican mole sauce and added some cocoa powder. The following recipe makes 2 servings - or 4 if you bulk it up with a side of rice or bread.

spanish-mexican black bean stew, reminiscent of a vegetarian chili con carne.

spicy spanish-mexican black bean stew

1 cup dried black turtle beans
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons Spanish hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
2 bay leaves
a little oil, for frying
salt, to taste

- Soak the dried black beans overnight in a large bowl of water.

- The next day, drain well, rinse and transfer to a pot with 4 cups water, bring to boil and turn down to a simmer.

- Meanwhile, sauté garlic, onion and chilli in about one teaspoon oil until soft. Add in the chopped tomatoes and hot smoked paprika and lightly sauté for a few more minutes. Stir the mixture into the pot with black beans. Add in the bay leaves and cocoa powder.

- Simmer until the liquid is thick and reduced, and the beans are tender. Mine took just under 2 hours of uncovered simmering. If you like, you can lightly puree half the beans for a creamier soup/stew.

- Season with salt to taste. Garnish with fresh tomatoes and a sprinkling of herbs such as parsley, if desired. Retrieve bay leaves before eating.

- This can be eaten by itself or accompanied with salad, rice or bread. It also benefits from an addition of fresh-tasting and/or slightly acidic elements. We kept it super-simple and had it with sliced tomatoes, yoghurt and pita bread. Next time, I'd like to try it with guacamole and feta cheese as well! I imagine it would also go well with this lemongrass yoghurt dip.


So there you have it, a bold, earthy Spanish-Mexican inspired black bean stew. We had this for lunch and dinner and I believe it tasted even better the second time around, as the sauce thickened and the flavours developed further. Simon liked it a lot and wanted to know more about the ingredients in the dish. I gladly obliged - here's hoping next time he'll be cooking this for me!

thick, rich and earthy black bean stew.

18 comments:

  1. This looks awesome. I love your photos.

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  2. Beautiful! Great picture!! And, I'm sure it's delicious as well.

    http://happensafterfive.wordpress.com

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  3. Thank you Quay Po, happensafterfive and carol! :)

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  4. You could totally add some beer to this to thin it out, if you wanted! Or just have a frosty mug on the side :) Looks tasty!! Perfect winter dish! I've never heard of turtle beans-- learned something new!

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  5. Oh yes... this would definitely go nicely with a cold beer!

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  6. Look this healthy and hearty black bean stew.

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  7. Oh wow! Looks so healthy... I would love to try some!! WuhOoo!

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  8. Have seen black beans around but have not bought them /cook them for some reason. Looks like it is time!

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  9. black turtle beans? where did you find them?

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  10. Looks delicious! Not really familiar with black turtle beans but what a cute name. :-)

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  11. Thanks everyone! Definitely a healthy dish, and very cheap and filling too!

    Penny, I got my black turtle beans at Casa Iberica on 25 Johnston St, Fitzroy. :)

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  12. Oooh, this has reminded me that I have half a bag of dried turtle beans in the pantry! I actually got mine from Woolworths (the Macro brand).

    And I'm up for any savoury recipe involving cocoa ;)

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  13. Where did you get the black beans from? Do you think I can get it from the market/

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  14. I have a pile - you might even say a hill of - beans in my pantry that I've purchased with the best of intentions and then let them sit there in the darkness. I think I've got some black ones - don't know if they're this exact type, though. Heck, I'll try it anyway ...

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  15. That looks healthy and absolutely delicious!

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  16. That sounds delicious! Love the addition of cocoa!

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  17. Thanks everyone! Hannah and Rich, wishing you the best in your black bean adventures! :)

    Michelle - I got them from Casa Iberica in Fitzroy. :)

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