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Brazilian Black Bean Stew

makes lots (about 2 litres), freezes well


According to Sally and Martin Stone in The Brilliant Bean, most dried beans double in volume and weight after being soaked and cooked. Soybeans and chickpeas can triple.

"As a general rule, 1 cup (8oz) of dried beans increases to 2 to 2½ c (1 to 1¼ lb) of cooked beans. One cup of dried beans is usually enough to serve four as a side dish."

... (1 lb = 453.6 gm)


  1. The day before you are going to make the stew, sort (to remove stones) and wash the black beans (also called turtle beans) well. Place them in a bowl large enough for the beans to triple. Add plenty of cold water - the beans will expand - add a little more water than you think is necessary. Cover the bowl and leave to soak overnight.
  2. On the day you are going to make the stew, remove any beans that are floating. Drain and rinse the beans. Discard the soaking water. Put the drained beans in a big pot and cover with fresh cold water. DO NOT ADD SALT. Bring to a boil. Immediately turn down to a low simmer. Simmer 1 to 2 hours partially covered. After an hour of cooking, check to see if beans are the consistancy (in terms of softness) you like. If not, simmer a little longer. When they are the right consistancy, add salt. This stops the beans from getting much softer.
  3. Add corned beef cubes, bay leaf, oregano, garlic, some salt and one chopped onion. Simmer at least 2 more hours.
  4. Take out 1 c. beans and mash into a paste. Return the mashed beans to the pot.
  5. Saute 2 onions in lots of corn oil. Add those with the spices to the pot. Simmer another ½ hour or more. Serve over rice. Garnish with coriander leaves.

* When we haven't had any corned beef, we have used cubed ham instead and added ground nutmeg and cloves to the stew.

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