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The beans from Payton…

March 8, 2011

Here is the low down on beans from Chef Payton Curry…

Using Legumes

Purchasing dried legumes is a great way to save money and also gives you the flexibility to impart many flavors to your beans while they are cooking.  If don’t think that you have the time to cook dried legumes take the time to read the back of a can of beans and rethink your schedule.  Canned beans are cooked in a mess of preservatives and a manufacturing process allows them to stay in a stale suspended state until the end of time and beyond.

Cooking beans often puts a little question and fear into the minds of a home cook while in the end I always remind those of the greatest cooking appliance introduced to our lives, the Crock Pot.  Set it and forget it!

There are two basic techniques to help produce beautifully cooked pillows of magic.  The short soak method and the long soak method.  The short soak method allows you to have beans cooked and on the table in about 3 hours depending on the bean of course.  This method is completed with the following steps.

These are the most important steps to success with cooking dried legumes at home.  Another important step is to never ever add salt until the end of the cooking process.  The salt closes the “belly button” on the bean and won’t allow the bean to cook, ever!  Also keep in mind to taste your cooking liquid before you cook your beans, store bought stock contains a lot of sodium.  Be careful.

1).  Place beans on a cookie sheet in a single layer and pick out any cracked beans and/or shrapnel like rocks, etc.

2). Rinse beans in a bowl of water and allow beans to fall to the bottom and remove anything that floats to the top.  These are beans that will be to dried out and will not be cooked evenly

3).  Cover the beans in a pot and bring to a light simmer and shut off and let steep for an hour.  Strain and rinse with a bit of cold water to remove a bit of that starch.

4.) You will cook these in a beautiful mirepoix a little wine and a beautiful stock made of the trim of your mirepoix along with a bit of well deserved pride for taking this newfound passion for taking on this project.

Overnight soak- repeat steps above and allow beans to soak covered by 5 times the amount by volume of water to dried beans for a minimum of 6 hours, I suggest overnight to 24hrs max.

The overnight soak is my preferred method for using dried beans.  The soaking allows the beans to release oligosaccharides, an indigestible sugar that cause music to most fathers ears out there.  When you go to cook your soaked beans strain them into a colander and rinse with cold water.  Below you will find a basic recipe, of course if you fancy, make it just that and add your own twist.

1 lb             Dried beans, soaked and rinsed
2 Tbsp       Olive Oil
1 each        Yellow Onion, minced
1  each       Carrot, minced
2   each     Celery Stalks, minced
4  Tbsp      Green Garlic, minced
2 each       Bay Leaves
4   oz.       White Wine
2-3 Quarts  of your favorite broth or stock

In a one-gallon stockpot on medium heat allow the olive oil to heat to a light smoky hue.  Add vegetables and sweat down until translucent, about 4-7 minutes constantly stirring.  Deglaze with white wine and reduce by half.  Add beans, bay leaves and cold/room temp stock.  Never ever hot stock.  Hot stock will make them cook unevenly, no bueno.  Cook for about an hour constantly skimming the foam off of the top, this will guarantee a clear broth for your beans.  Heat should be high/low enough that the beans are just doing a little dance in the broth.  If needed add broth to keep beans covered by 3-4 inches.  Check beans after a half an hour and continuously throughout the cooking process.  Add salt, vinegar, crispy bacon, and sausage at the end.  Enjoy!

Look for different techniques in the future.  We will be updating once we receive full mastery of the basic technique!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Pam permalink
    March 11, 2011 4:24 pm

    Thanks, Payton!! You are the best! Have a good weekend.

  2. Sheryl Valentiner permalink
    March 11, 2011 8:56 pm

    Yay! Thanks so much for this post on what the heck to do with beans. Every week I look over the beautiful bags of beans, remind myself I have no clue how to prepare them, and move along. I’ve been wanting to try them for several years now. I appreciate the post. I’m going to get some next week.

  3. March 12, 2011 8:15 pm

    Well Chef Payton, You’ve just convinced me to start eating dried beans. Thanks for the wonderful instructions. Do you have any advice for cooking Trepary Beans?

  4. Sylvia Lee permalink
    March 19, 2011 10:16 pm

    I just read and copied your hints and recipe for cooking dried beans. Thank you for your explanation of why salt should not be added til end of cooking. From experience, I have recently learned not to put salt in during cooking. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe.


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