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How to cook Colstoun Turtle Bean Chilli

For the second week of our 12 recipes over 12 weeks I thought I’d share an experience from Colstoun Cookery School manager Alison Henderson.

Turtle Bean Chilli being prepared in a pot

“In the first week of 2017, when it is dark and cold outside, we ventured to Humbie for the Women’s Institute first meeting of the year; we had been invited to do a cookery demonstration.

I’d recently finished ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ and with terrible weather and a warm fire at home, my mind thought of what I could demonstrate that played on the concept of Hygge, it needed to be warming, family based, something that could be cooked ahead and eaten later, healthy, different, seasonal and most of all enjoyable and really play on the idea of getting cosy!

Turtle Bean Chilli seemed logical, it is warm, uses local vegetables easy to make and is a vegetarian dish so almost everyone can eat it.”



  • 200g Dried Turtle Beans or 1 can

  • Olive oil

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 2 leeks, chopped into chunks

  • 3 garlic cloves chopped into chunks

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 7 dried chillies

  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 medium aubergines

  • 1 bunch fresh coriander

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime

  • 240 ml sour cream


  • Soak beans over night in cold water. Drain and cook beans in boiling water until tender, about 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

  • Heat olive oil in a large pan and cook the onions and leeks for 10 mins, until soft. Add the garlic, chillies, and ground spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  • Add the canned tomatoes and paste, bring to boil and reduce the heat to let simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Season to taste and amend chilli level as required.

  • Toss the aubergine in some olive oil and roast until browned and softened, roughly 30 minutes. Turning and tossing at least twice.

  • Meanwhile, make the lime sour cream. Stir the lime zest and juice into the sour cream.

  • Add the roasted aubergine and cooked beans to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in fresh coriander and check seasoning/spice levels.

  • Serve with basmati rice & lime sour cream.

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