• 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups diced yellow onions
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 pounds black turtle beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 meaty ham bone or smoked ham hock
  • 6 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 medium-size sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry wine
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 cups Creme Fraiche or dairy sour cream


1. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook over low heat until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Drain the beans and add them, the ham bone or ham hock, and the 6 quarts water to the pot. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cumin seed, the oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, uncovered, until beans are very tender and liquid is reduced by about three quarters. This will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

3. Transfer ham bone or hock to a plate and cool slightly. Pull off any remaining meat with your fingers, and shred finely. Return meat to the pot.

4. Stir in remaining parsley, sweet red pepper, remaining cumin seed, sherry, brown sugar and lemon juice. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste, correct seasoning and serve very hot, garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche.

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Submitted 7/25/05.
Source: The Silver Palate Cookbook
Submitted By: Lionel Mandrake

Black Bean Soup