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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Cook Dried Black and Kidney Beans

When you eat as many beans as I do, you sometimes have to resort to canned, so I keep a few cans of low-sodium beans in my pantry in case of emergency.  I like Goya but tend to buy what's on sale if they pass a label check.  
I prefer to cook my own.  They taste better and I can control the flavor and texture.
This is a basic recipe that works on most legumes - Red, Black, Kidney, Cannellini, etc.
Be sure to check the expiration date on the bag.  Old beans take forever to cook and never get as tender.   A 2-pound bag makes a lot of beans, but you'll find them easy to toss into dishes once you have a fresh supply on hand. They add a nice boost of filling protein to any meal.   If you still have them in the fridge after 3 days, they may be quickly pureed into soup or dip.
These are brined in salt, which makes them cook faster, but they are rinsed afterward.  There is no salt in the 4 quarts of water they are cooked in, so the sodium content of the finished product is relatively low.  I recommend seasoning them to taste when they're cooled.  Just don't go crazy.

Cooking Beans from Dried
Makes 24 1/4 cup servings

2 lbs     Dried Beans
6 Tbsp Table Salt
             Room Temperature Water
             Black Pepper
             Extra Virgin Olive Oil

To Soak:
Place the dried beans in a container large enough to hold double their volume.
Add 6 tbsp salt, pour over enough water to cover the beans plus 3 inches more.
Stir well.
Cover with a lid, plate, or plastic wrap.
Let stand at room temperature overnight, 8-24 hours.

To Cook:
Drain and rinse the beans.
Pour into a large stock pot with a tight-fitting lid.
Cover with at least 4 quarts of water.
Set pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 1-1 1/2 hours until tender.
Skim off any that foam atop the water as needed.
Beans are done with the centers are creamy.
Drain hot liquid into a large container, drizzle with olive oil, season to taste and stir.
Pour beans into a large, clean container.
Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, toss to coat, and taste to adjust seasonings.
Serve beans hot with or without hot liquid or cool each individually over an ice bath.

Store any unused portions of beans and liquid in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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