Black Turtle Beans

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

America's Best Chefs Cook with Jeremiah Tower

America's Best Chefs Cook with Jeremiah Tower

By Jeremiah Tower

Published 2003

  • About


  • 1 pound dried black turtle beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half
  • 1 Herb Bundle
  • 1 ham bone or 1 cup ham scraps
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt


Rinse and sort the beans, discarding any stones or discolored beans. Cover the beans with at least 2 inches of cold water and soak overnight; drain. Put the beans in a large pot with fresh cold water to cover by at least 2 inches and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, let sit for 10 minutes, then drain. Rinse the beans under cold running water.

Wrap the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in cheesecloth and put in a pot large enough to hold twice the volume of the beans. Add the herb bundle and ham bone. Add the beans. Add the chicken stock and enough cold water to cover the beans and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 hours.

Add the cumin, ancho chile powder, and salt; mix them into the beans. Continue to cook, stirring the beans every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking and to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot. Add more water if the liquid does not cover the beans.

When the beans are cooked, drain them, reserving the liquid for soup or for finishing the beans in a recipe as for baked black beans.