Beans have been a staple in many cultures for centuries. So, so versatile. You can eat it as a meal unto itself (like meatless chili) or as a side dish. My favorite is a traditional beans and rice. Another favorite of mine is habichuelas con dulce. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried that.
What I like to do is make a batch of beans and divide it up into freezer storage bags and then use as needed. But before I can do that, I have to make the beans, right? Right.
I start thinking about the bean prep and already get exhausted. Traditionally, you soak the beans over night, them sort and rinse them. But sometimes I don’t decide until that morning or afternoon that I even want any! That’s when you quick soak and prepare. This is great when you’re cooking disabledly.
What you need:
- 1-2 cups of Beans of your choice. I chose red kidney beans.
- Water (2x the amount of beans to quick soak, 3x the amount of beans to cook)
- Sauce pan, pot or dutch oven (with lid)
- Strainer (for draining) if needed.
- Chopped onion (pre-chopped or dried works as well as chopping your own)
- Garlic, chopped or minced (I like to just buy a big jar of minced and a bottle of dried, chopped garlic)
- Bay leaf
- Salt and Pepper (I use seasoned salt)
- Bacon, chopped or diced (you can use smoked turkey neck or other cured meat)
What to do:
- Place dry beans in the pot and cover with about 2 times the amount of water. Probably a finger length. Remember, I guess on a lot of my measurements. Basically just cover the beans with a lot of water.
- Put the pot over medium to high heat so it begins a quick boil, not simmer. Let it boil for about two minutes then remove from the heat.
- Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove any beans that float to the top.
- Drain and rinse.
- Heat up the same pot. Add the bacon/meat of choice. When the bacon is almost done, add the onions and garlic. Cook until onions are soft.
- Return the beans to the pot.
- Add three times the amount of water as there are beans. Again, you want to fully cover them plus some.
- Add oregano, salt, pepper, a touch of cumin or tumeric (just a dash because these are strong spices), and bay leaf. Add more water if needed. Stir from the bottom. Cover.
- Bring the pot to a boil then turn it down to a simmer. Let it simmer for 90 minutes (1.5hrs) but make sure to check on it.
- During these 90 minutes, give it the occasional stir.
- Once that time is up, uncover the pot a little. Taste the liquid and add more seasoning if needed. You may also need to add more water because your beans are not done. Not even close.
- Another stir and back to simmering for another 30-45 minutes, or until beans are soft enough to smash.
- Now this next step is optional: Remove about 1 cup of the beans and smash them up. Add back to the pot and stir. This makes it creamy and thick as opposed to soupy. Maybe add a little extra water.*
- Now just let the pot simmer, with the occasional stir so the beans at the bottom don’t stick, until they are at your preferred softness.
* You are adding water based on how much is in the pot and how much longer the beans need to cook. If you don’t, they will burn at the bottom of your pot and ruin your flavors. Ask me how I know.
TIP: Set it and forget it by just using a slow-cooker. Soak your beans overnight or use the quick soak method above. Add your beans, seasonings, onions, garlic, and bay leaf to the slow-cooker. Cover in water and stir. Slow cook on high for about 4-5 hours. The timing will really depend on how much your are preparing and how tender you want the beans. Anyway, set it and forget it. Make sure to check on the slow-cooker at least once during cooking to determine if you need more seasoning.
That’s it! I know this looks like a lot of steps, which would defeat the point of cooking disabledly, but it really isn’t. I am just being very detailed for you.
Add the beans over rice if you want. As always, if you try this recipe let me know!