Thursday, October 24, 2013

We Should Cocoa Challenge #38 Chocolate & Vegetables

This month's We Should Cocoa challenge comes to us from jibberjabberuk who has picked vegetables as the guest ingredient to combine into our chocolate creations.

I seem to have eaten a lot of cake and sweet stuff in recent weeks so I set about picking a savoury recipe and with the help of the Eat Your Books service I was quickly looking at a whole range of options for sneaking chocolate into savoury creations. The recipe that really stood out for me though was this black bean soup with chocolate and chillies by Dennis Cotter.  This particular recipe was taken from the internet but I have three of his books and the recipes are nothing short of genius. They are all vegetarian and although it can take quite a while to put a whole dish together the results are the sort of dishes you would serve to any mixed group of vegetarians or meat eaters and not feel anyone would be disappointed.

The recipe calls for black kidney beans but I used some really tasty small black beans from Brazil; the sort that are used in the national dish Feijoada.   I had to substitute the chipotle chilli with some red chilli flakes and the avocado I had purchased for the salsa was rock hard so that was abandoned but otherwise I kept quite close to the recipe.

 The spices of cumin, coriander and allspice give the soup a lovely warm depth and when you stir in the chocolate right at the end the soup darkens and stops looking like 'just bean stew' and suddenly like something quite sophisticated. I did add some white cheese to my improvised salsa but that was more to do with having too much cheese in the fridge.

So the vegetables that go into the soup include onions, garlic, fresh red pepper, celery and tomato and in the salsa you should have avocado, scallions and coriander.

The soup reheats very well and you can easily add other ingredients like cooked chicken, pork,  yoghurt, tortilla chips to add variety.

Oh and it goes really well with a glass of beer!

Sources for some of the ingredients:
Black turtle beans are similar to the beans I used and are available from www.mexgrocer, melbury and appleton and some larger supermarkets
Chipotle chillies can be bought in tins from specialist grocers like the 'mex grocer' above and my old favourite from visits to Edinburgh- lupe pintos

Oh, and as we are talking about chocolate you can also get these lovely mexican hot chocolate stirers from 'mex grocer', they are called  molinillo  

Chocolate Stirrer - Mexican wood molinillo


  1. I never expected a soup for this month's We Should Cocoa. This is perfect for this time of year and packed with vegetables! Thanks for linking it up.

  2. You've really got me on this one Jill. I love Mexican food and this soup sounds perfect - even without the avocado ;-) I remember years ago it was really easy to get hold of black beans, now it doesn't seem to be so, although I have recently found tins of turtle beans. I have one Dennis Cotter book and really ought to use it more. Thanks for making this for We Should Cocoa.