Black beans

Black beans

Cabana The Cookbook
Martin Poole

Brasilians love black beans (feijão) so much that apparently, during World War II when fuel was rationed, savvy housewives would dig an outdoor cooking pit to cook them very slowly, using as little fuel as possible. Some would even drop a washed can of condensed milk into the bean pot to make doce de leite at the same time. The traditional recipe uses dried beans, which involves soaking them overnight and using a pressure cooker, but use tinned beans to save time. You could add bacon lardons to the pot if you’d like a meatier flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato puree
800g tinned black beans in water
1 heaped teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
few sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
200g lardons, (optional)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the chopped vegetables and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes, until softened. Stir in the spices and cook for a further 2–3 minutes until they release their fragrance. Add the tomato purée, the black beans and their liquid, the vegetable bouillon and thyme and give it a good stir. Simmer for 10–12 minutes to reduce some of the liquid.
  2. If using lardons, heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the lardons and cook for 5–10 minutes until the fat has rendered out and they are crispy and brown. Add to the beans just before serving.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve in warmed bowls.
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