Beans of any variety are packed full of healthy benefits and can complement everything from stews, to casseroles, to rice dishes and pasta dishes. They can even make up a substantial part of a fresh salad, but many people get put off cooking them because they don’t really know how to, or when they are cooked properly. The truth to cooking beans is that they are incredibly easy to cook and just like many foods it takes a couple of tips for you to master the art of cooking them and providing a new dish to add to your growing cookery arsenal.
Black beans in particular can be eaten on their own, and it’s not rocket science in cooking a creamy tender bowl of these fantastic beans. The biggest issue for many is that beans aren’t fast foods, they take hours to cook so if you are looking for quick meals then the 3 hour cooking time of black beans may put you off, but believe us when we say you have tasted nothing like the tender black beans we are going to show you how to cook today.
To get the perfect tenderness all the way through its key that you soak the beans prior to cooking them, this will give you a much better chance of having a more evenly cooked and tender bean dish. Plus, it can take some time off that 3 hour cooking time.
Right, so now we are ready to begin the cooking process so the first thing we need to do is get our equipment and ingredients together. Luckily there isn’t a lot to think about here, you just need a pound of dried black beans, some salt, a bay leaf, a couple of cloves of garlic, a chopped carrot, half a white onion, and some water to fill your saucepan.
Most of those ingredients above are simply to add to the aromatics of the liquid that surrounds the beans when it starts to evolve into a creamy dish.
After you have soaked your beans (usually overnight) you will want to drain them, and its at this point where if you have the time you can pick out any odd looking beans, dried beans or other impurities that you don’t want to make it across to the saucepan for cooking.
Add your water to the saucepan and then shuck in all your aromatic ingredients that we mentioned above as these will help infuse the beans with delicate and captivating tastes when you come to eating them later on. All you need is a little bit of water as well so don’t go filling the entire pan, you want to cover the beans by about an inch and then set the temperature to a medium-high heat and then let them get to a boiling state.
Once you have hit boiling point reduce the heat down to a low temperature so that the beans are just simmering away. If you are looking to add the beans to soups or creamy dishes then adding a lid at this point will improve the tenderness of the black beans. If you leave the lid off the beans will be more crunchy and less tender, so you should only leave the lid off if you are looking to add the beans to salads or pasta dishes.
Leave the beans on a simmer for about an hour and then come back to just check them at that point. You want to make sure that the beans are still submerged in water so you may be required to add some more water at this point. Cover up the beans and then leave them for another hour or so.
Just before the end of the cooking process add a pinch or two of salt to add to the taste, as the black beans should now be tender.
Once cooked you should have a nice creamy black bean soup dish now with all those aromatics, but the best thing with black beans is that you can keep them refrigerated for 7 days, or frozen for up to 3 months so its always an idea to cook a good batch of them up if you are going to be spending hours cooking them, that way you add them to individual containers and add them to different dishes throughout the months before the need to cook any more.
Even if you aren’t fussed about the liquid, you should still keep it as it makes a great staple for sauces and soups, and because you have all that flavour and goodness packed into it, it really can add to other dishes you may cook so just pop it into a container and keep it stored in the fridge.