Cooking beans is one of the easiest things you can do in the kitchen, right?
You just soak the beans overnight, drain the water, put more water in, and boil the piss out of them for an hour. Then drain with a colander and blammo! Beans!
Yeah, that’s one way to do it…but if you do that method you’re missing out on a lot of bean-y goodness!
And sure you can buy beans in a can, but those don’t even taste much like beans and the selection is seriously limited. You can buy whole chickens in a can too, but most people don’t…
First, let’s get the farting conversation out of the way right now because it always comes up…also, I just like talking about farting.
If you eat beans regularly, you won’t be farting all the time, sadly. The gas you pass after eating a bowl of chili is mostly because, since you don’t eat enough beans, your body doesn’t really know how to handle them. The wee beasties in your guts aren’t properly trained, so they improperly digest them and shoo a bunch of gas out the back door.
The good news? You can train them just by eating more beans! Hooray! If you’re like me, it’s actually a little disappointing when your wee beasties get better because farts are fun. Oh well.
Okay, farting is covered. Are we done there? Do you have any questions? Yes, the same principal applies to eating broccoli and onions but as heavy sulfur vegetables, that sulfur still remains and will stink up the place eventually.
Any other questions? If you want to fart more just chew gum or smoke. Both of those activities lead to the swallowing of vast quantities of air that only has two ways to escape (both ways are funny).
Okay, on to cooking beans! Hooray!
First, quit soaking your beans. They just don’t need it and you can actually screw some stuff up by doing it for too long. If it’s so ingrained in you to soak them, just do it for an hour or two to satiate your psychosis and move along. Those all night bean soaks are bad news. The beans frequently absorb too much water and split which ruins the delicate texture.
Take your delicious beans and put them in a pot. I suggest a nice Domingo Rojo or possibly a Good Mother Stallard but just about any beans will work. Cover the beans with about an inch of water, a little more is fine. Throw some other stuff into the pot if you want. I frequently put in a chopped up small sweet tater, diced onion, carrots, a chunk of bacon skin, whatever you have around or need to use up. I included a bunch of shiitakes yesterday because I needed to use them. Do not add any salt at this point. Beans aren’t pasta and adding salt right now will screw with the texture.
Cover the pot and bring this up to a hard boil and let it go for 5-10 minutes, but no more than that. Then dial the heat way down (still covered) so it just barely simmers….and then walk the hell away. Just leave. Go get a pizza, take a nap, watch The Princess Bride, whatever. Come back in 3-4 hours.
Okay…nap complete. Movie watched. Anybody want a peanut?
Time to check the beans! The little protein bombs should be soft (but not soft and mooshy since you didn’t soak them overnight!) and delicious. Now is when you want to add salt to the pot and gently stir it in.
The liquid that you see in there is referred to as ‘bean liquor’ or ‘pot liquor’ and it is a thing of beauty not to be wasted! If you want to strain it out to use your beans in a salad or something, do that now, but please, for all that is holy, save that goodness!! It’s amazing stock. And no, that liquid is not where all the farts are.
Nine times out of ten I just leave the liquor in the pot and reduce the whole thing down for another hour. I like the beans to have the consistency of a thicker baked bean dish (but without the sweetness and cooked on the stovetop).
That’s it. Your beans are done. Put some spoonfuls on a plate, chop up some cilantro and sprinkle that soapy bastard over the top, squish some lime juice on there too maybe, whatever you feel like doing. I like a dollop of greek yogurt alongside the pile of beans. Take this, guts!!
Making beans this way, and leaving the liquor in, makes these bad boys a serious treat on any plate. Take them for lunch, dip stuff into them, whatever, just get them into your belly and get those wee beasties trained up good and proper. (And enjoy the training!)