Winter Warmer 2 : Black Turtle Bean Vegetarian Cassoulet

I discovered those beans not too long ago…Now, I can’t have enough of them! Once you have tried this recipe, you will understand why… If you feel like adding meat into this dish, try with some nice chorizo sausages and a couple of confit duck legs (you can find those in a few Delis around Brisbane, like “Feast on Fruit” in Morningside). In that case, you will slice the chorizo into thick slices, then saute it in the pot you will use to cook the dish. Once the chorizo is nicely colored, add the duck legs, lower heat, and start the recipe (without adding the EVOO, you will have enough of the flavoursome fat from the sausages and duck to sweat the “garniture”).
Here, I use red Habanero chili. It’s a beautiful chili, with an amazing orange zest flavour. But beware, it is very hot (especially the part near the stalk and the pith and seeds), and should be handle with care (washing your hands thoroughly after handling, or using disposable gloves), and used sparingly. I put mine in the freezer, then use a fine grater whenever I need some (so I don’t have anymore wastage, and it’s a very effective way to control the amount, and to “chop” it very finely). If you are not sure what amount to put in, start with a very small amount, and keep trying and tasting. You have to soak the beans overnight, to reduce the cooking time.


  • 1kg Black Turtle beans
  • 1/2 small carrot
  • 2 large french shallots (or a medium size brown onion)
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small stalk of celery
  • 2 springs of thyme
  • 1 spring of rosemary
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 1 Red Habanero chili (amount according to your taste)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (if you can’t find it, just use regular)
  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander


  1. In a 5L pot, put a couple of table spoons of EVOO. On low heat, add the “garniture” (finely chopped carrot, shallots, capsicum, garlic cloves and chili), cumin and paprika. Also add the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary, tied together with some cooking string (this is the “bouquet garni”). Let sweat (without any coloration) till shallot get translucent.
  2. Add the white wine and let reduce till almost dry. Be very careful, it is easy to reduce it by too much, and….burn it…
  3. Add the beans ( thoroughly rinsed and drained), cover with water (about 1cm above beans level). Bring to boil, and let simmer very gently without lid, for about 45 minutes. Check and stir often during that time, making sure it doesn’t stick at the bottom of the pot, and that there is enough water ( add little at the time if needed). Take the bouquet garni out (after 45 minutes) and add more chili if needed.
  4. Depending on how long you soaked the beans for, it might need few more minutes, or another 30 minutes…. The key here is to check often, you want the beans soft, neither mushy nor “Al Dente”!
  5. When the beans are ready, the cooking liquid is almost as thick as gravy, making a perfect sauce without adding anything. If you find yourself with too much liquid (and most likely too runny as well), drain the dish and reduce the liquid till good consistence is obtained.
  6. It is at that time that you want to correct the seasoning, and add the coriander leaves (roughly chopped).
  7. To match the dish, try a Rioja or a nice Chilean red wine…
  8. Bon Appetit!

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