This is one of those meals which you suddenly find yourself craving. I think that's down to its smokey flavour. The only downside to cooking it in a slow cooker/crockpot is that everything comes out a dark brown colour. Please read the notes section before you proceed.
The cost is between £2 and £3 depending on how much bacon you use and assuming 10p for the cheapest herbs and spices. This makes at least 5 portions of soupy stew, more if you serve it over rice.
500g black turtle beans, soaked overnight and drained (£1.10)
1 onion chopped (12p)
6 cloves garlic, crushed (10p)
2 green peppers, roughly cubed (40p)
150g-500g cooking bacon, roughly chopped (or use leftover ham, see notes below) (18p-60p)
2 chilies, chopped (or 1 heaped teaspoon ground chilli)
1 smoked dried pepper (if you are lucky enough to find them) (say 50p)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspooon liquid smoke (2p)
Boiling water to cover
- Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Ensure that there is at least a 2.5cm (1 inch) covering of boiling water, more if your slow cooker lid doesn’t seal well.
- Put the lid on, set the cooker to high and cook for a minimum of 8 hours.
- If it gets a bit dry, add more boiling water (cold water will cause the pot to crack).
- If it turns out soupy, serve with lots of fresh bread. Otherwise, serve over rice.
See what I mean by brown?
- Slow cookers/crockpots are meant to have well-fitting lids that seal so you need less liquid. I’m on my third and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a bit of a myth. The original crockpot has a rubber gasket around the lid and that does seal. For all the others, you’re dependent upon how well the lid fits the rim. My current one has certainly boiled dry.
- You need to cook this on high for the beans to go soft. (It should be possible to mush them with a spoon.) The first time I cooked this, I used “automatic”, which starts off as high and then swaps to low after 2 hours. We got home 12 hours after it started cooking and the beans were still hard.
- I can only find black beans, aka black turtle beans, in Waitrose.
- Where do you get the Liquid Smoke? Ocado sell a 148ml bottle of Stubbs Liquid Smoke for £1.89, so I based the cost on that. My bottle is years old.