I love making beans from scratch. Canned beans are ok, fine even for some things but slow simmered homemade beans are just so much better.
It’s all about the broth with homemade. Canned bean water is not good-ever.
There are probably as many ways to cook beans as there are bean varieties. I make pinto beans in my pressure cooker because I almost always want to mash them into refried beans and I find the pressure cooker cooks them quickly and just fine but I end up with broken beans, which I don’t mind for refried beans.
I like to slow simmer beans on the stove when I want a rich broth and intact beans. That is what I am making today.
To make delicious beans you don’t need much more than beans and salt and maybe an onion. I added a few more ingredients because I had them from our CSA share this week.
One pound of beans makes about 6 cups of cooked beans. Cooked beans keep in the refrigerator for at least a week and can be used to make so many quick meals like greens and beans or quick soups, or make some toast and spoon some beans and broth on it, add an egg! If you don’t think you will use all of them in a week or so freeze them, they freeze beautifully.
Soak or not to soak beans? I soak if I remember, I just cook the beans a little longer if I didn’t remember to soak them. The beans I am cooking today were soaked for about 6 hours.
After soaking your beans you want to drain the soaking water and start with fresh water. There is a protein called lectin on the skin of legumes, lectin is why some people can’t digest beans very well. Lectin is water soluble and you want to get rid of it, so rinse and drain your soaked beans. You can read more about it here if you want. If you didn’t soak them just rinse them really well.
- 1 pound of cannellini beans, you can use any type you like.
- 1 onion-a large carrot-a couple stalks of celery-a few garlic cloves.
- Optional-parmesan rinds (adds great flavor) olive oil
Now put your beans in a large pot and cover them in fresh water and bring that to a low boil for about 10 to 15 minutes. The beans will foam, I don’t know why but they all do.
Skim off the foam and add your vegetables and parmesan rids if you are using them. I added a couple of bay leaves too.
How long it takes to cook beans is anyone’s guess. It depends on how old the beans are, how big they are and probably other things. It takes as long as it takes, I’d say usually 1 to 3 hours. Leave them on low making sure to check that the beans are always covered with an inch or two of water. Add more hot water as needed.
After an hour of simmering I add a couple of teaspoons of salt and some olive oil. The beans are just starting to get soft. I am guessing these will need an other hour or two. I added more hot water and I’ll just leave them simmering and check back in an hour or so.
OK. It’s been another hour and they are almost done. The parmesan rinds have melted and you can see the beans are much bigger and the vegetables are breaking down. At this point taste a couple beans. These are really soft and just a little ‘grainy’. “Grainy’ tells me they are just about done. They are done when the beans are creamy not grainy. I’ll leave these another 1/2 hour. The broth is so so good.
Now I have beautiful beans and broth for several meals. I’ll start with just beans and broth.
I hope you are enjoying your winter vegetables. I know I am.
I cook my own beans too. Your soup looks good!