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Recipe for :

Vegetarian Black Beans

Chef James EhlerThis recipe is from Chef James Ehler of Key West, Florida.

James is a webmaster, cook, chef, writer and (like me) a self-confessed computer nerd. He is the former executive chef of Martha's Steak & Seafood Restaurant and the former Reach Hotel (both in Key West), the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North Carolina.

He is now webmaster and cook at the Blue Heaven Restaurant in Key West while he works on his Food Encyclopedia (five years so far). It is well worth paying a visit to James' food reference website which is a useful resource well worth Bookmarking - to visit either website just click on their title:

The Food Reference Website
The Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West, Florida

If you want to contact James just email him by clicking here


2 Quarts Black Beans
4 Quarts Water
2 Cups Yellow Onion - diced
2 Cups Celery - diced
2 Cups Carrots - diced
2 Tablespoons Garlic Clove - minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cumin Powder
2 Teaspoons Oregano
2 Teaspoons Thyme
2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Dry Sherry
Salt - to taste


See notes for Cleaning and Soaking Beans

Place cleaned and pre-soaked beans and water in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a slow simmer.

After 1 hour, add remaining ingredients, and continue simmering for an additional 1 hour, for a total cooking time of 2 hours.

Add more water if needed while cooking. Stir to keep bottom from burning, especially after first hour.

Notes on Cleaning and soaking:

Before cooking, be sure to pick through the beans, picking out any small pebbles, split and withered beans and any other foreign matter. It is also helpful to cover the beans with
cold water, let sit for 5 minutes and remove anything that floats. Repeat to be sure all dirt and foreign matter is removed.Drain.

Black beans, like all dried beans, need to be soaked before cooking. This hydration helps to reduce the cooking time. Because they are small, 2 - 4 hours soaking in cold water should suffice.

Drain, and cook as per recipe.

If you don't have the time, boil the beans in water for 1 - 3 minutes, turn off heat, cover the pot and let them sit for one hour. Drain and proceed as per recipe. However, there is a
problem with this quick soaking (boiling for 1 - 3 minutes) method. Hot water increases the solubility of the water soluble nutrients, and softens the cell membranes of the beans, further accelerating the loss of these nutrients. This should be a consideration, because of the long cooking time during which more nutrients are lost. Cold soaked and cooked at a very gentle simmer, beans retain most of their nutrients, which are considerable.

Serving Ideas:
Serve with Saffron rice or brown rice.

© James T. Ehler, 2001
All rights reserved