Saturday, February 28, 2009

More with beans

There are many methods for cooking dried beans. So many that it makes a very simple task seem more intimidating than it is. Really, any method you find in a cookbook should work. If you love your pressure cooker, you might want to start with the recipe book that came with it. Otherwise, choose a recipe from a favorite cookbook. The recipe in Food Matters by Mark Bittman looks good. The Joy of Cooking has a lot of material on beans including a section on pressure cooking.

I cooked dried beans for the first time about twenty years ago from Laurel's Kitchen. I suppose that was the first vegetarian cookbook that most people my age owned. Unfortunately, my copy met its demise during a horrific putrid zucchini accident. So, for this pot, I used a recipe that I copied from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking, mostly because it suggests using a bit of kombu to aid digestion and we have a lot of kombu left over from some experiments R did awhile ago with cooking rice.

I threw the beans in a flat baking pan and sorted through them last night, making sure that there weren't any rocks or mouse droppings, and then rinsed them and soaked the beans overnight. This morning I drained the soaking water, put the beans in a pot with water and some celery and onions and the kombu, and let them simmer for about an hour. That's it! Next I'll drain them, reserving the bean stock. I'll put half the beans and stock in the refrigerator and half in the freezer and they will be ready for any bean dishes that come my way.

My plan is to start cooking a pot of beans every other Saturday (on alternating Saturdays, I'll make chicken stock). That should help us eat lower on the food scale while decreasing our carbon footprint and grocery bill.

1 comment:

The Veggie Queen said...

Thank you for your great posts on beans. I am not sure if you have or use a pressure cooker but if you do, you can make amazing stock, vegetable or chicken, very quickly and using far less energy (fuel). And energy does equate to money.

Bittman and I are in total agreement on the beans. And obviously you are right there with us. I actually make a pot of beans a week and freeze the rest in 2 cup increments so that I can pull them out of the freezer whenever I need or want beans. Since I am vegetarian a weekly pot or two of beans works well.

You can check out my pressure cooking info at and