It’s well documented that when it comes to cooking, we fuckin love a short cut. Our freezer stays stocked with bagged fruits and veggies, we keep a whole pantry shelf just for tinned tomatoes, and our passion for canned beans is evident in every.single.one of our books. BUT we also have excellent taste and know that absolute nothing compares to home cooked beans. Plus, when it comes to your budget, dried beans are always a better deal than canned. It’s rare when an ingredient that tastes the best is also at its cheapest. In 2022 we all need the W’s we can get. So this week we’re gonna give y’all the quick and dirty on how to make a pot at home when you’ve got a lil extra time or just want to treat your taste buds.
If you’re looking for more recipes to use all these beans you’ve got, join us over in our supporters-only newsletter each Sunday where we’ve got our new series exploring the culinary combo that cultures across the globe can’t stop eating: Beans and Rice. Every week we’re loading your plate with a brand spankin new recipe and all the hot bean facts your brain can take. Come on over, we saved you a seat.
A Basic Pot of Beans
Once you’ve got the framework down, throwing together a pot of beans is some of the simplest shit you can do in the kitchen. You just need some patience and a lil finesse. Regardless of what bean you’re boiling, the steps are always the same, the only difference is the cooking time. Here are some guidelines but trust your taste. The beans are done when at least 5-8 of them taste tender and cooked through. One bean can be a liar so you gotta try a few. Keep simmering until you get there.
First thing you wanna do is pick through the dried beans and throw out any fucked up looking ones and then rinse the rest. Put ‘em in a big container and cover with a couple inches of water. They’re going to swell up as they soak and you don’t want those beany bastards popping up past the waterline. Soak them overnight or for at least 4 hours. This helps cut down on your cooking time. You can throw up in the water before you go to work in the morning and then they’re ready to cook when you get home. Simple shit. No time to soak? That’s fine. Follow the same step below and just know that it’ll take you longer to get them soft. You don’t hafta stand over the stove while these guys simmer so it’s not the end of the world if you can’t soak em.
When you are ready to cook, throw the beans in a stockpot with their soaking liquid. Conventional wisdom used to say you needed to put fresh water in the pot but you’re tossing out TONS OF NUTRIENTS and flavor, so smart people agree never to throw the bean bath water out. Depending on how much water your beans absorbed you might even need to add more water to the pot. You want about 2-3 inches of water above the beans. You could add some carrots, onions, garlic, celery, peppers, or bay leaves to the pot for flavor but that none of that shit is required. You can sauté them around in some olive oil to build extra flavor if you’ve got the time.
Now for the heat. First, you wanna bring that pot up to a solid boil for about 10 minutes. Like Steve Sando, our modern-day bean guru, says “you gotta show the beans who’s the boss.” Then bring the pot down to a simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender. If too much water evaporates before the beans are done, you can always pour in more HOT water into the pot to keep them boiling. Adding cold water will just slow the whole thing down so don’t use that shit.
Add a couple pinches of salt in the last couple minutes of cooking so that the beans taste extra delicious. You’ll know they’re almost done both by how tender they are getting and because your kitchen will smell like beans. The same is true for rice. Your nose knows. Done.
Drain away any extra liquid or used up veggies in the pot and store these cooked beans in the fridge or freezer until you are ready for them. No can opener required. That bean broth is delicious and worth saving though. You can add it to soups, pasta sauces, and cook your rice in it if you’re so inclined. Or just fucking eat the beans in the broth. No need to waste all that taste.
Here are some bean guidelines but that shit really does change depending on how long/if you soaked your beans, how old they are, and how much you love them. Hot tip: beans tend to triple in size when you cook them so if you want to end up with about 1 ½ cups of cooked beans (the standard can measurement) you want to start with ½ cup dried beans.
Black Beans - 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas (Same shit, just a different name)- 1 1/2 hours
Kidney and Cannellini Beans- 1 1/2 hours
White, Great Northern, and Navy Beans- 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Pinto Beans- 1 1/2 to 2 hours
So you learned a new kitchen skill today, hell yeah. Pat yourself on the back. Now you wanna test it out? YOU BETTER BELIEVE we gotchu covered. We’ve got plenty of bean (and rice) recipes in our supporters-only newsletter and on our site to jump start your journey.
Can’t wait to see what y’all cook up.
Michelle and Matt