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2 cups dried black beans
8 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 small dried ancho chile pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 Tablespoons ground oregano
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

In a large pot, mix black beans with water, garlic and dried chile. Bring to a boil and
cook over medium-low heat until beans are tender—about 2 hours. Stir in salt and set aside.
Boil sweet potatoes until just done—they should be firm, but cooked through. Add
drained potatoes to black beans and stir carefully to avoid breaking up potatoes.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and stir in onions. Sauté
onions until translucent. Stir in all herbs and spices and cook 3-4 minutes until aromatic. Add
2 cups of black bean cooking water to pan and cook until reduced to half its volume. Cool.
Remove ancho chile from beans (be sure to discard stem). Place chile and the cooked
spice mixture in food processor and puree until smooth. Scrape into pot of beans.
Simmer beans with spices for at least one hour to blend flavors.
Before serving, stir in orange juice and sherry vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve
hot with a choice of toppings—orange, lemon, or lime juice, chopped onion, cilantro, sliced
avocado, sherry vinegar. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

NOTE: To make 5 gallons of soup (enough to serve 75 people) just multiply the ingredients
by ten—and make sure you have a very big pot!

Copyright © 2011 Stefanie Samara Hamblen