When most people see that a recipe calls for dried beans, they cringe. Dried beans can be a pain to work with if you’ve never cooked with them before. You can’t just toss a bag of dried beans into the pot, add the other ingredients and let it cook – if you do it this way, you’ll end up biting into some pretty rock hard beans!
The right way to cook dried beans is to prepare the beans ahead of time and then cook them. Here’s how you do it.
Preparing the Dried Beans For Cooking
There are several different ways to soak dried beans, and the method you use is completely a matter of preference. Look through the beans for any discolored or damaged ones and pick them out. Give the beans a good rinse. Then it’s time to soak them.
Slow Soak – In a large pot, 5 quarts should work, add 1 pound of dried beans to 10 cups of water. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the refrigerator to soak overnight. Then drain the beans and rinse them and they’re ready to cook with.
Quick Soak – In a large pot, boil 10 cups of water. Add 1 pound of dried beans and bring to a boil again. Boil for 2 or 3 minutes, then remove from heat, cover with a lid and leave it sit at room temperature for an hour. Drain the beans and rinse them and they are ready to cook with.
Cooking the Dried Beans
Put the soaked beans in a large pot and fill with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are soft. Cooking times vary greatly, especially depending on the type of beans you’re using and how long you soaked them. Keep tasting the beans every 20 minutes after 1 hour of cooking to see if they are done. It could take up to several hours for the beans to get tender.
Do not cook the beans at a rolling boil (make sure it’s a simmer) or they will get mushy. Be patient and let them simmer until they are done. When the beans are done cooking, drain them and now you can use them in your recipe.