Monday, March 5, 2012

Cooking With Dry Beans

Have you ever walked down the legume aisle in the grocery store, seen the bags of dried beans next to the canned ones, and wondered, "Who cooks with dried beans any more? That has to be really complicated and time consuming"?

I used to do that all the time. Until I figured out how to cook with dried beans.

I actually really like using dried beans- even more than canned. Dried beans have a different energy about them. They are fresher and don't have all the issues of absorbing metal from cans. There is something about a bowl of beans soaking on the counter, being readied for tonight's dinner that just feels so wholesome and natural. Alright, I'm starting to wax ridiculously poetic here, so I'll cut to the chase.

I burned a lot of beans trying to figure out how to cook them. The trick is to plan ahead a little and get your lovely legumes soaking 24 hours before you plan to use them. That way they will be nice and soft when it comes time to cook them and it will only take about 20-30 minutes of cooking for them to be ready to use. I start mine off cooking on high and when the water reaches a rapid boil, I decrease the heat to medium and cook them until they are easily pierced with the tine of a fork. If you're doing a crock pot soup, you can probably just toss the soaked beans in as is. Soaked beans that have been slow-cooked for 6 hours are very nice and tender.

For those of you stock piling for food storage, take note that dry beans last a lot longer than canned ones. And bags of them are a whole lighter than cans.

So now that you have your beans soaking, what are you going to do with them? The possibilities are endless, but here are some ideas:

Jazzman Jamabalaya- I'm making this tonight without the tomatoes (Malamute has a tomato sensitivity) and using Bragg's Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce.

Easy Crock Pot Black Bean Soup- This is a Sunday favorite for us, served with sourdough bread of course.

Black Bean Brownies- recipe coming soon! This is my favorite dessert!

Today I am thankful that blueberries have been on sale.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking about this the other day.. so I will definitely be looking into these recipes :) I remember seeing black bean brownies somewhere before!! Can't wait to hear about that one :)