Black turtle beans are widely used in Latin American dishes, from Brazil's feijoada to the simple bean soups of Cuba and Mexico. We've taken the latter approach, simply adding cumin and oregano to the soup base. A good pinch of dried epazote, a Mexican herb, would add another savoury note; it's available online from good Mexican shops such as Monterey Foods and Fireworks Foods. Finish the soup with a good scattering of feta, which is similar to queso fresco, the fresh cheese used in Latin American cooking, and a few slices of ripe but firm avocado.
- 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tsp coarsely crushed cumin seeds
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1.5 litres chicken stock (6 cups)
- 500 gm dried black turtle beans (see note), soaked overnight, then drained
- Coarsely chopped coriander (optional), crumbled feta, sliced avocado, lime wedges and toasted tortillas, to serve
- 1Fry onion in oil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent (8-10 minutes). Add garlic, cumin and oregano and stir until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add stock and beans, and bring to the boil, skimming any scum from the surface, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender (1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes).
- 2Pulse soup with a hand-held blender to your preferred texture, season to taste, divide among bowls, top with coriander, feta and avocado, and serve with lime wedges and tortillas.
Dried black turtle beans are available online from Monterey Foods (montereyfoods.com.au).
Drink Suggestion: Dark brown porter. Drink suggestion by Max Allen