Photography by Susan Bell.

I knocked up this soup last winter. It combines onions and garlic for detoxifying goodness with chillies to fire you up, tomatoes and carrots for essential vitamin C, beans for protein and chocolate because it’s a solution to almost everything.

(Serves 2)
100g dried black beans
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
small red chilli 1 or a pinch of chilli flakes
A shake of paprika
A generous shake of ground cumin
A splash of oil
1 carrot
30ml red wine
400g chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
dark chocolate (3 squares, approx 20g)
fresh parsley to garnish

Put your beans in to soak the night before, or early in the morning if you’re going to be cooking that evening. Place them in a bowl, cover with fresh cold water and then some, and cover the bowl with clingfilm. Leave for a minimum of 8 hours to soak.

When soaked, drain and thoroughly rinse your beans. Put them into a saucepan with fresh water and bring to the boil for approximately 10 minutes, then turn down to a simmer.

Meanwhile, peel and slice the onion and garlic, and chop the chilli (reserving a couple of slices for a garnish), then put them all into a saucepan along with the paprika and cumin. Add the oil and cook over a low heat until the onions and garlic soften.

Wash and chop the carrot, and add to the saucepan. Pour the red wine and tomatoes in, and stir through. Crumble in the stock cube, then add the dark chocolate and 400ml boiling water. Drain the beans and tip into the pan. Stir and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrot is tender.

If you like, pulse the soup in a blender until smooth. Serve hot, garnished with a sprig of fresh parsley and a slice of red chilli in each bowl.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MxJackMonroe

A Girl Called Jack is available to order from The Hive, a website that finds your local independent book store. Also available on The Hive as an e-book!


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    • Both my father and uncle are “addicted” to chocolate as well, so are many other men (for example food blogger Smitten Kitchen’s husband, see here: On the other hand I know several women who don’t particularly like chocolate and prefer salty things or other sweet things or just don’t have anything foodwise that they are “addicted” too. It’s a cliché and society likes to create those clichés and create the feeling that they really have any meanings- like that women somehow naturally prefer pink, which is ridiculous if you consider that it used to be the colour for little boys for centuries and only the colour for little girls for the past hunderd years or so. Some women adore chocolate. Some men adore chocolate. Most children adore chocolate. But it is somehow more acceptable for women do talk about how they are addicted to chocolate, so surprise, more women talk about their love for chocolate in that way. Studies have shown that the craving for chocolate in women is something that varies greatly depending on nationality, further suggesting that it is something cultural not “natural”.

  1. The only thing that comes up in my mind is food equals to love. When you cook for others you’re not only nourishing but also loving them. And with such nice food wow! They have to love you back.

  2. Thank goodness it is days to go for your book it seems a life time ago I ordered from independent book shop cannot wait for it to pop through the letter box. Enjoy launch day Jack you deserve it.

  3. Another great recipe. I’ve pre-ordered your book (thanks to a generous Xmas gift) and can’t wait for it to arrive!! 🙂

  4. Waiting for your book to drop through the letter box not one for recipe books as a rule, collect family recipes and make up most things as I go, got a prehistoric good housekeeping book that’s been well used and added to over the years, your book is different felt I must have it.

  5. Jack…the guilt is killing me… I have read your book. I have it…. I pre- ordered it as ebook on hive…but it came through yesterday. Love it!!! Apologie s if i did somethjing i shouldn,t have

  6. As often happens, this turned out to be the basis for something closely related but not quite the same – not least because I usually have different stuff in my cupboard/fridge that needs using (e.g. a squash that was going off, on this occasion). Plus, tbh, my budget is slightly higher.

    Nevertheless, it gave me inspiration for something bloody tasty. And relatively cheap! Thanks …

  7. Brilliant, thanks. I couldn,t work it out…

    Really enjoying ypour ideas and haveadapted some to suit our family…and er…you and friends telling me to, has convinced me to start my own blog. Thanks

  8. Just made this – wow! It’s divine! I had to substitute a bit; I used a tin of Basics kidney beans, didn’t have any wine so used a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and I added a tablespoon of tomato purée. I also grated the carrot because it cooks faster. It is a fabulous soup, thank you Jack.

  9. are you using black turtle beans? Looking on for some right now…black turtle beans are 3.58/kg or 1.79 for a pack of 500g

  10. I didn’t have any black beans, so used kidney beans, like Sally. Cooked it for lunch today, amazingly tasty.

  11. I don’t understand how your blog works. Do you only have the guardian recipes on it now? Where can I read the actual blog archives. There doesn’t seem anything much here to engage with. Seems very disappointing. I wanted to look at your recipes to see if I would like your book. Was also interested in reading your posts as I was a single parent too and I think it is harder now. But I haven’t find any thing here except in a bitty sort of way.

  12. I got your cookbook this morning. So far I have made the Carrot Ribbon Pasta, chickpea falafels, and Love Soup. The Carrot Ribbon ended up as courgette and leek ribbon due to a dirth of carrots in my kitchen. Every last mouthful of each dish was bloody yummy. I got you two more punters on the strength of the lunch I dished up to them. I LOVE this book. Simple food that everyone has in their kitchen. I am actually impatient to cook the next recipe. That does not happen with many cookbooks. Well done you.

  13. Made this for lunch today. Topped it with grated strong cheddar, tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream. It was heaven! And as for the ‘serves 2’, well, we consider ourselves to have huge appetites and there’s still a bowlful left. Enough for us to share with a sandwich at lunch tomorrow.
    We love soup so any new recipe is always welcome. This one really is a winner!

  14. So lovely to have a reminder of this soup- perfect for Autumn. If I have some old sweetcorn laying around that is past its best I shuck the kernels, toast them with a bit of chilli, lemon and salt then scatter them on top. Perfect use for corn that has got a bit starchy.

    Jack, I used to be Local Editor for Mumsnet Suffolk and have been a long time admirer of you and your work. Greatly looking forward to the latest book.

  15. Sadly I’m allergic to chilli so can’t follow this recipe as it is, but like the thought of chocolate in my soup. Will have to drop some in my next batch!

  16. Jack, this is absolutely my favourite recipe of yours – knocked the cauliflower and fennel off #1 spot. It is somehow meaty! Persuaded 23yo son (who has always been averse to soup as it’s ‘stuff all mixed up’) to try it. Wolfed it down.

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