We rarely used canned beans in our house, they are so simple to cook and take so little space in our pantry that we always have dried beans on hand. Home-cooked beans tend to yield a heartier texture and flavors, not surprisingly, superior to canned.
This is a basic recipe for beans that can be served as a side dish or integrated into other recipes. If you are serving beans as a side dish, you may consider adding a few dried herbs such as bay leaves or cumin while cooking. Beans do a beautiful job of absorbing flavors. Generally, a cup of dried beans will yield two cups once cooked.
BASIC BEANS RECIPE (yields 2 cups)
1 cup dried beans
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
bay leaf (optional)
- In a medium bowl, soak the beans under three inches of cold water for at least 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. This is an important step to keep them from breaking during the cooking process.
- Once soaked, rinse the beans under cold water.
- In a medium pot, add the soaked beans, sea salt, bay leaf (if using) and enough water to be two inches above the beans. Bring the pot to a gentle boil, which should take two minutes, before turning the heat to low for a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 1-2 hours or until the beans become soft and tender, but not mushy. Also, don't be afraid to add water along the way if you feel the pot of beans are becoming too dry.
- When the beans are fully cooked, allow the pot to cool for 15 minutes before transferring to a bowl or another recipe. Drain juices, if necessary.