Canned beans may be convenient, but these dried beans taste so much better, and with a lot less salt! This Basic Black Beans recipe is so simple to make — you just have to remember to soak the beans. Always buy dried beans from stores with a lot of foot traffic. Old beans can take twice as long to cook as a fresh batch. Cooked beans freeze well, so make your own convenience food. Store your cooked beans in handy portions in the freezer using 1-quart or 1-pint resealable plastic bags.
1. Rinse the beans under the tap. Put them into a bowl large enough to hold them and 4 cups of water. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap and leave to soak overnight. They should double in size. See Ann’s Tips for a quick soak method.
2. Drain the soaked beans, rinse them and put them into a heavy pot with the shallots, bay leaf, and cilantro. Add enough water just to cover the beans, and sprinkle with the olive oil.
3. Bring the beans to a boil. Remove any scum that forms. Boil for 10 minutes, cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer until the beans still hold their shape but are tender, about 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on the age of the beans.
4. Remove the cilantro, shallots, and bay leaf. Add the sea salt. Use the beans or store them in the fridge or freezer.
Ann's Tips and Tricks
Salt your beans at the end of cooking only. They will stay hard if you add salt at the beginning.
If you forget to soak your beans, here’s a quick method to speed up the soaking:
1. Rinse the beans and put them into a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil over a high flame.
2. Immediately cover the pan and turn off the heat. Leave the beans to sit undisturbed for 1 hour. Cook them from step 2.
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