Beans are the trifecta of food—they are inexpensive, crazy-nutritious and darn tasty. Because they store so well they’re always in season and no meal plan is complete without them. But if you want to enjoy them now, you either have to plan for them the night before or resort to the more expensive canned variety. Those are the only two options, right? Nope.
The conventional wisdom for cooking beans is this: large beans need to soak in water overnight or go through a ‘quick soak’ (boil for two minutes, cover and “soak” for two hours, throw away the soaking water), then cook it on a stove top for a few more hours or in a slow cooker for 8 hours. Thanks to a post on eGullet, I now go from dried beans to yumminess in an hour and a half.
My adaptation follows:
- Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Sort beans, picking out any small stones. Some people forgo this step. They won’t once they bite down on a rock in their soup one day.
- Rinse the beans. I usually rinse it twice which is just enough to wash some of the dust and grit off.
- Add the beans to an oven-safe stockpot or dutch oven. Cover beans with about an inch and a half of cold water.
- (Optional but recommended): Cut off a 3-inch piece of kombu (dried seaweed found in the Japanese section of the market), wipe it down with a moist paper towel to get the excess salt off, and put it in the pot. This adds additional umami to the beans.
- Bring pot up to a boil, cover, then put in the oven for 75 minutes. At the 45 minute mark, check to see if most of the water has evaporated and the beans look dry. If needed, replace it with a bit of boiling water. Remove kombu and after thirty more minutes, you’re done.
That’s it. Easy.
I’ve been cooking dried beans this way for about a year, and it’s an easy way to incorporate beans into your diet without planning days in advance, resorting to canned goods, or more expensive proteins.
Add more beans to your meal plan and try this fast technique. Your wallet and health will be happier for it.