I had a thought yesterday afternoon as I swung open my kitchen cabinets, scavenging something simple to prepare for dinner. I ended up eating a peanut butter sandwich, but that’s besides the point.
The real point is, why don’t I make beans anymore?
I used to make beans all the time. When I was going through culinary school with days stretching out from six am to midnight, I cooked a ton of beans because they were simple and easy to make ahead of time for on the go dinners. All I had to do was let them soak the night before and cook ’em while I was getting ready for work in the morning. I always stored them in small individual sized tupperware containers and they became a quick mainstay in my diet, especially when topped with marinara sauce, fruity olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese, or even just tossed on top of a salad.
There’s a huge difference in canned beans and fresh beans. I never really bought into all that foodie hooplah, but it’s true. I swear. Cooking your beans from their dry state really makes them taste better and also makes them easier to digest.
A year ago I bought these Christmas Limas from the San Francisco ferry building farmer’s market when I was at the Foodbuzz conference. I had good intentions but for some reason, just found them again yesterday…don’t ask.
Anyways, I was really excited to find these because they’re really pretty and remind me of Fall. Click here to read more about this particular kind of bean, which is actually an heirloom bean meaning that it’s been around since the mid eighteen hundreds!
But how do you cook the beans?
The answer to that, my friends, is simple.
Start the night before you want to eat the beans. Dump the beans into a very large pot or dutch oven and cover with cold water. You want about double the amount of water to the beans because they’ll expand as they soak.
In the morning, drain out the water and cover with fresh cold water. Again, there’s no specific measurement to this….I usually just fill the pot all the way to the top.
Cover the pot, leaving a tiny crack open, and crank the heat to high. Let the beans come to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer. You should probably watch your beans so this doesn’t happen.
Simmer the beans for about an hour and a half, until they are really nice and tender. The time you cook your beans depends somewhat on the type of beans you are cooking, so check them after an hour and then continue to check them every fifteen minutes or so.
When the beans are done, drain them and let them cool before either using them right away or storing in the fridge. Cooked beans will last in the fridge for up to a week.
One of my favorite simple preparations is simply just drizzling some olive oil on top of the beans, followed by freshly grated Parmesan and sea salt. With a side of some bread or roasted veggies, this makes the perfect early Fall meal.
What’s your favorite way to eat beans? Here’s another one of mine.