Monday, November 12, 2012
No Soak Beans
I tend to be a slacker when it comes to planning meals ahead of time. I typically open the fridge or the pantry and I whip up dinner based on what's inside. This habit is probably also why nine times out of ten I use canned beans. I know ... the horror. Not only are canned beans usually a tad too soft, there's the whole toxic chemicals leaching from the can issue. (My canned beans of choice are BPA-free Eden Organic Beans.)
I know dried beans are better. No doubt. It's just that my lack of planning doesn't work out so well for using dried beans. All that soaking time means I'd need to figure out dinner at least 24 hours ahead of time. Even on a weekend, that's just not me.
Every so often I get delusions of grandeur. Yes, I will plan ahead. Yes, I will use dried beans. So, this year one of the vendors at the local farmer's market was selling dried beans and you know I bought a big bag. Plus, this year in the garden I grew some Jacob's Cattle Beans which dried beautifully.
I am glad to report using dried beans is a delusion no more. Late Saturday afternoon I decided I wanted to use those darn dried beans for dinner that night. I hopped online and much to my delight I came across a no soak, 90-minute way to cook dried beans. Perfect!
It worked out so well I decided to make a "quick tips" post. Here's how to do it.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 1 pound of dried beans to a large Dutch oven.
Pour in enough water to cover the beans by an inch and a half. Add about half a tablespoon of salt and bring the pot to a boil.
Put on the lid and get it into the oven. Cook for 75 minutes. Check the beans after 45 minutes. If they look too dry add some boiling water to the pot.
After 75 minutes you'll have a pot of delicious al dente beans to use in a variety of dishes. I used them all for a big pot of vegetarian chili.
I still may revert back to my canned bean ways on weeknights, but this no soak method worked out really well. The beans really were perfectly cooked. Even though it did take a little more planning than usual, I definitely see myself using this no soak method again.
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