Monday, March 5, 2012
I’ve never understood why people are so scared of cooking with dried beans. “Canned beans are so much easier,” they say. Canned beans also taste like (excuse my language) canned beans.
If you’ve never had dried beans, then I can understand your confusion. But let me tell you, the taste difference is night and day.
And they aren’t hard to cook either. Yes, they do take a smidgen of planning. But I mean if you’re cooking dinner, you’re in planning mode already aren’t you?
I’m going to share with you the easiest way to enjoy beans. This is the dish I make when I know I’m going to be having a long day (leading a Food Tour or Workshop for instance) and realize ahead of time I won’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen by the time I get home.
First of all, buy some beans. Yes, this is the planning part. Have them on hand. They last a long time.
Now you've got the hardest part out of the way.
Then, in the morning, when you are about to start your day, dump said beans in a big bowl of water, and walk away.
Come back home, after a long day's work, make yourself a drink, and drain those beans.
Put the beans in a big pot, along with a piece of chopped celery, some onion, and maybe a carrot if you have it (I didn’t the other night).
Fill with water to cover everything by about two inches, add 1 tsp of salt. Bring the beans to simmer, cover and walk away for an hour.
Have another drink, why don’t you?
After about an hour, check on the beans. They will probably be about done at this point. If not, cook a bit more.
Turn off heat. Plug in your immersible blender, and blend about half the beans.
Dinner is ready.
That wasn’t so hard was it?
Easy Bean Soup
3 cups of dried beans
2 stalks celery
1 tsp salt
Soak beans for about 6 hours.
Place drained beans in a pot, along with celery and onion.
Fill pot with water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to simmer, cover and let cook for about an hour.
Check every so often to make sure there is enough liquid, you don’t want the beans to burn.
When beans are tender, puree half of the soup with an immersible blender.
Serve topped with croutons, a bit of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
I used some lovely cranberry colored beans, but feel free to experiment.