My friend calls this Goth Soup. It is a dark dark soup that provides such great joie de vivre on a cold night.
This recipe for Turtle Beans (also called Black Beans) can be slow cooked either in the Rice Cooker on the slow-cook setting, in a dedicated slow cooker, or on the stove. Turtle Beans have a dense, earthy texture and flavour, slightly salty and reminiscent of mushrooms. It can be served as a thick soup, or served like a lentil stew over rice.
The recipe is the slow cooked version, but it can be adapted for the stove top. I have also made this soup with whole masoor – whole red lentils – with great success. I would guess that means it would also work with Beluga Beans Horse Gram, and du Puy Lentils.
Turtle Bean Soup | Black Bean Soup
2 Tblspn or more ghee or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped (dice if stalks are wide)
1 red capsicum, diced
1 – 2 carrots, diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped fine or put through a garlic press
1 fresh red chilli, chopped finely (or use dried if you don’t have fresh)
1 Tblspn cumin seed
1.5 tspn turmeric powder
2 cups turtle beans (black beans)
1/4 – 1 Tblspn chilli powder, depending on your tolerance for heat.
1/2 – 1 tspn smoked paprika (optional)
7 cups water or vegetarian stock
juice of a lime or half a lemon
Celtic sea salt
First of all fry off the mirepoix in the bowl of your slow cooker if it is one that you can put on the stove top, or in a separate pan. This is how:
Heat the oil and add the diced onions, celery, carrots and capsicum. Stir well and allow to sauté until soft and looking like they are beginning to brown.
Add the garlic, fresh chilli and cumin seed. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
Now switch the slow cooker to its slowest cooking setting. (If cooking on the stove, simply add the ingredients to the pan you are using.)
Add the sauteed vegetable mix, the beans, turmeric, chilli powder and stock or water. Stir, close the lid and cook on low heat for up to 9 hours in the slow cooker. Slow cooked dishes are infinitely forgiving in the amount of time that they are cooked. Cook for about 2 hours on the stove top
As you are preparing the rest of the meal, tip the soup from the slow cooker into a saucepan and bring to a simmer on the stove and bring to the boil. If cooking on the stove, simply continue as below when the beans are very tender.
With an immersion blender, partially puree the soup in the pan so that some of the beans are pureed and some beans remain whole. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend half of the soup in a blender.
Add the lemon or lime juice and season with salt and a pinch of black pepper. Allow it to simmer until you are ready to serve. Or if you want to keep it until the next day (flavour improves even more), simmer for 10 minutes, cool and refrigerate.
Serve with fresh green coriander and/or a dollop of yoghurt, sour cream, creme fraiche or mascarpone cream (leave off for a vegan dish). Avocado and preserved lemon is excellent too.
recipe notes and alternatives
Some cookers will cook quicker than others, ie at a higher temperature. Check the cooker after about 5 hours for water levels and “doneness”. I made this in my daughter’s cooker and it was sufficiently cooked after 5.5 hours. It is worth doing a test run when you use your slow cooking setting for the first time.
other ways with Turtle Beans (Black Beans)
- Turtle Bean Salad with crunchy red and green peppers, onion, coriander and a tangy umeboshi vinegar dressing.
- Turtle Bean HotPot made with sweet corn, leeks, onion, bay leaves, mint, garlic, cajun style spices, paprika, black pepper, fennel seed, cinnamon, thyme, cayenne.