Taco night is always a big hit in our family and one of the most requested ingredients from our son is beans. Sure, canned beans are convenient and inexpensive, but there’s often a bit of sodium in them and when you reheat them, they can easily be overcooked.
Many are hesitant to cook dry beans due to lack of experience and convenience, but with a little planning and minimal effort, you can easily cook creamy, flavorful beans to accompany many food genres. And they are much cheaper than canned beans!
Makes about 3 cups
One cup of dried beans such as pinto, great northern or black
1 Tbs. salt
The morning you want to have beans for dinner, toss your dry beans into a mesh strainer and rinse with cold water. Add beans and salt to a medium saucepan. Fill with water so pan is about 2/3 full. Cover and let sit all day, about 7-9 hours.
Put pan on stove, still covered, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer beans for 1.5-2 hours. Be sure it’s not at a full rolling boil as the beans can get torn up if overly disturbed. Drain and serve.
*Beany tidbit: If your beans appear shriveled after soaking them it means they are past their prime. They will still taste all right but you may want to buy new beans next time.
I’m home sick today. During my two-hour pity party in bed this morning, I lamented over the fact that no one can bring me soup and my cabinets were bereft of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle.
It is a scientific fact that chicken soup is good for colds; but I’m not well enough to drive to the store and buy some, so I rolled my sick self out of bed, I took what I had on hand and made some delicious vegetable bean soup with a chicken broth base. Way better than store bought. And guess what? I’m feeling slightly better. Up from 61% to 68%. Not bad!
Cast of Characters:
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. finely chopped onion
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 celery stalk, chopped
3 crimini mushrooms (or one giant baby portobello mushroom) sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme
4 cups chicken stock
1 can white beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, mushroom, salt and pepper and sauté until most of the liquid evaporates, about five minutes. Add the thyme and stock and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until carrots are tender. Add the beans and bring back to a simmer. Simmer another five minutes or so until beans are heated through.
The fresh veggies add more depth to the chicken stock so it doesn’t taste bland. The mushrooms create a wonderful richness and depth to the broth.