My Sister’s Simple Trick for Cooking Beans
Somehow I had convinced myself I couldn’t cook beans. I had tried and tried and every time I tried to cook up some dried beans, they just didn’t have the flavor I wanted. I could make a great chili and soups with beans IN them, but I couldn’t manage to cook up plain old beans that were as good in flavor as the ones you buy in a can.
So I resigned myself to buying canned beans. Yes, I’m fully aware of the BPA issues in canned foods. I tried not to think about that.
At holidays when we were all up at my parents’ place, my sister would bring a little container of black beans she had cooked up and we would toss them on chips with cheese a microwave them for a quick snack with salsa.
Her beans were so good, I asked her what her secret was. And she told me.
Here’s the secret:
A bay leaf. That’s it. She puts the dried beans in a pan with a bay leaf, some chopped garlic, some water and simmers them (partially covered) until they’re done. She says the secret is you do NOT salt them till they’re tender.
Okay, so I tried it, first with black beans and it turned out wonderfully! Just like hers. Then I did pinto beans. Perfect! YES! … and this batch you see here was some Cannellini beans for my Cannellini hummus. Sometimes I have to add some water because it cooks off, but I have finally mastered the art of cooking beans!
It takes an hour or two for the beans to get good and soft, but when they turn out this good, who needs to buy canned beans?
(My sister says the salting rule goes for salty meat too … if you want to add bacon or ham or other salty meat, wait until the beans are tender, then add the meat. Cook them for 20 minutes or so after you add the meat to let the flavor soak in.)
I LOVE YOU SIS!
(And by the way, you can freeze cooked beans. My parents insist that you can’t, but I do. I have even served some of the beans I cooked then froze and reheated and they couldn’t tell the difference. HA!)