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How to cook beans. Cook dried beans for delicious beans recipes

Updated on September 11, 2009

Easy and delicious beans

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Easy to prepare dried beans will give you a lot of great recipe options.

I was just about to write a great recipe for refried beans, when I realized that some people may not be aware of the best way to cook dried beans; so I though I would write about beans in general first!

Dried beans are both better and cheaper than canned beans. They'll last forever in the cupboard and can be prepared with minimal attention...all they really take is time!

You can soak the beans overnight to speed up the cooking process, but I find that the extra step is not really worth doing. Just let them simmer away for a few hours one afternoon, and you'll have great beans in one easy step.

1 The first thing to do is wash and pick over the beans. It doesn't matter what variety, they all sometimes get little stones and grit in them. Most should be OK, but take a minute to make sure.

2 Fry a couple of chopped onions in about 3 Tbls of oil until the onions are really really browned and rich looking. You are going to add these to the cooking liquid and this will add a great depth of flavor to the beans. You can substitute a couple of spoonfuls of lard if you have it on hand and skip this step.

3 Add your beans to the pot (They'll get about 3 times bigger than they are now, so remember to choose a big enough pot!) and add just enough water to cover the beans. The beans will cook faster in a smaller amount of water, so don't drown them, and add more water later as necessary. Add your onions and oil to this pot and bring it all to a gentle boil.

4 There is big debate about whether to salt at this point or not. You can do it, and it does add a savory taste to the beans, but it will also make the beans less likely to get creamy and soft, so I personally don't like to add it.

5 The beans will take a couple of hours to cook. The time depends on a lot of factors such as the age of the dried beans and their respective size, so it's hard to give an exact time line. The beans are done when they are creamy inside; let them cook until there is no chalky texture left.

6 You're done. Eat the beans!

You can freeze any beans that you're not going to use right away for future meals.

One thing to remember about beans is that they tend to need lots of salt to get really tasty. Keep adding salt and tasting until you get it right (leave a few extra beans around in case you add too much salt, so you can mix them back into whatever recipe you're using)

These beans will be great in quick soups, chillis, bean salads, avocado salsas…their usage is limitless; and beans are really healthy too, so enjoy them often.


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