Cooking with Coach Levi: How to Cook Dried Beans
Beans, beans, they’re just misunderstood.
Spice em up, they taste really good.
I don’t want to argue, since the point is probably moot,
but as long as they’re cooked properly, they shouldn’t make you toot!
Years ago, I wouldn’t eat beans at all. Eventually I started to eat black beans on burritos. Then I’d make my own burritos and really load them with black beans.
Finally, now, I can eat a plate of nothing but black beans and be happy! (Spiced up, of course.)
They’re a great source of carbs for energy, and they offer lots of fiber and protein. You’ll get about 15 grams of each one in a single serving of black beans. Phytonutrients are in there, too. Basically, beans are healthy!
They’re super cheap, too, so you save some money; perhaps they’ll help you afford that new power meter.
Here’s how to prepare and cook black beans (that won’t upset your stomach:)
1. Get dried beans.
Start out by getting a bag of dried beans, typically labeled “black beans” but sometimes using the full name, “black turtle beans.”
I’ve had Goya, as well as Great Value, Giant Eagle, and Hannaford brands. All were just fine. If you want to order online, I’d suggest Bob’s Red Mill black beans.
The only thing that really matters is that you get dried beans. Not canned beans!
I’ve had canned beans before. They’re alright. Certainly convenient. Not terribly expensive. But dried beans are way cheaper, and they’ll be far fresher and healthier!
2. Soak the beans.
Ideally, you’ll soak the beans overnight. You don’t absolutely have to, but that’s how I do it. Otherwise you waste time trying to cook them from a dried state. Not to mention, you’re at a greater risk for flatulence.
So, I always soak them overnight, which typically means the beans get to soak for 12 hours before I cook them.
To begin, put the whole 16oz bag of beans in a saucepan. My Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 2.5 qt saucepan is just big enough. (The best choice, if you’re shopping now, is the 3qt ‘Cook and Pour’ style saucepan.)
Then fill it with LOTS of water. (Since the beans absorb a lot of water, I’ll use Camelbak Relay filtered water, because why not?)
The dried beans won’t take up much space in the pan at first. The next morning, though, they will fill it up 3/4 of the way to the top!
3. Drain and rinse.
Once the beans have soaked overnight, they should be gigantic, and fill most of the pan!
The excess water will look nasty. That’s because it’s now filled with flatulence-related substances like raffinose and stachyose. So, dump the water down the drain!
Then refill and rinse the beans once or twice (until the rinse water pours out clear) to be ultra-safe.
They should look like this:
4. Add fresh water for cooking.
Now refill the pan with fresh water for cooking. You just need to cover the beans with about an inch of water, because they won’t absorb much more liquid.
You can also add a dash of salt and perhaps even a clove of fresh garlic for extra flavor.
5. Boil and simmer.
Now we’re actually going to cook the beans.
Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Immediately reduce the heat so you have a slow simmer.
Simmer the beans, uncovered, for about an hour. Stir occasionally for best results!
I only cook them about 30-50 minutes, then turn off the burner.
Exact cooking time depends on the beans, your stove, and exactly how “slow” your simmer is. If I keep the simmer just right, the beans will be cooked enough for my liking in 30 minutes. If I forget to check, and the simmer dips to almost nothing, it takes closer to 55 minutes.
6. Let them cool.
Once I’ve decided the beans are cooked to my liking, I’ll drain the water, and maybe even rinse the beans with cold water one final time, so they’re at a comfortable temperature for immediate eating.
Pour some beans on a plate or in a bowl, add some cheese, hot sauce, olive oil, and/or spices, and serve.
Prepared this way, I can eat a lot of these beans and suffer absolutely no GI distress!
What all can you do with them?
While I’ll gladly eat a bowl of plain black beans, I also save them for other recipes.
Burritos are my favorite. Take a big wrap and stuff it with rice, beans, ground beef, shredded cheese blend, pico de gallo, hot sauce, etc.
Tacos, such as these beef & bean oven tacos, are fun, too.
Taco salad also works well and allows you to eliminate grains. You’d use lettuce, beef, beans, avocado, tomatoes, shredded mozzarella cheese, etc.
If you have extra, place into freezer baggies in one- or two-cup portions to use in future meals.
How do you fit beans into your diet?