Delia’s Black Bean Soup

Delia's black bean soup
Delia’s black bean soup

I used dried turtle beans for this tasty soup by Delia Smith. Very simple and very hearty. I made it vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta and replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock. I don’t have a blender and didn’t use crème fraîche so the soup looks different in the picture above, and probably turns out creamier if the recipe is followed in full.


9 oz (250 g) black beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped small

1 fat clove garlic, crushed

2 oz (50 g) carrot, chopped small – from my veg box

2 oz (50 g) swede chopped small – from my veg box

1 x 15 g pack (or ½ oz) coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves reserved for the salsa

1 level teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground

2 pints (1.2 litres) veggie stock

juice ½ lime (reserve remaining half for the salsa)

1 heaped tablespoon crème fraîche – I didn’t add this

salt and freshly milled black pepper


It’s best to start the soup the night before by throwing the beans into a pan and covering them with about twice their volume of cold water. Next day, drain them in a colander and rinse them under a cold running tap. Delia suggests to cook the beans with the soup, however i would recommend cooking the beans by boiling for 10 minutes then simmering for 80 minutes. Black beans can be toxic and the boiling stage is essential to detoxifying the beans.

Now take the saucepan and heat the olive oil on medium, stir in the onion, garlic, carrot, swede and coriander stalks and continue to cook for another 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring everything round once or twice.

While that’s happening heat a small frying pan over a medium heat, then add the cumin seeds and dry roast them for 2-3 minutes until they become very aromatic, begin to change colour and start to dance in the pan. At that point remove them from the pan and crush them to a coarse powder with a pestle and mortar. Add this to the vegetables along with the drained beans, Tabasco sauce and stock (but no salt at this stage), then bring everything up to a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on. It’s very important to keep the simmer as gentle as possible, so you might need to use a heat diffuser here.

Now you need to purée the soup and the best way to do this is in a liquidiser – if not, a processor and a sieve will do, or even just a sieve. When the soup is liquidised, return it to the saucepan, add the lime juice, season with salt and pepper and it’s now ready for re-heating later when you want to serve it.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Looks delicious. Definitely one to try during this Siberian cold snap.

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