Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit...

Sorry, I could not resist.
Anyway. Beans are a much loved dish around these parts. There are so many reasons to love beans, not the least of which, they are delicious. Also, cheap, healthy and enjoyed by my whole family. See, I told you they were magical.

I usually make a pot of beans a week. That will last us at least 3 dinners and maybe a lunch too. I used to make a huge pot and freeze most of them, but now I just make a cup and a half, or 2 cups and we reheat from the fridge until they are gone. Then, I make another batch. It works best that way for me, but these beans do freeze really well.

Here's what you do:
First, soak the beans.
I use pinto, but black beans are tasty too and I cook them the same way.
You can do an overnight soak, or a quick soak method, which is described here.

After soaking, I drain beans and set aside. In a heavy bottomed pot, I saute one medium onion and two cloves of garlic. I use olive oil.

When the onion and garlic are soft, I add 2 tablespoons of cumin. You can add more or less according to taste.
Then I add the drained beans into the pot and give everything a good stir.
Next, I add a enough chicken broth to cover the beans. You can use vegetable broth too. I just think a broth of some kind adds a lot more flavor than plain water.
Bring the whole thing to a boil, then turn it down and cook at a very low simmer until soft.
That usually takes at least 4 hours, but I like my beans really soft, so I cook mine for 5, or even 6. Just make sure you keep adding liquid to the beans as they cook down. I keep them covered with liquid the whole time. I use water after the initial addition of broth. If you can't attend to the beans the whole day, put them in the crock pot and cook them the whole day. This will take longer, but is super easy.
When they are done, season with salt and pepper and serve them up for dinner.

I like to eat them like this, with the broth. It is just like a bowl of bean soup. They are so good, they don't even need anything added.

But, you can add cheese, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, and even crumbled up chips. It makes a delicious dinner or lunch.

Of course, my kids like them smashed a bit, and rolled into a tortilla with cheese. You don't have to refry these for burritos. I leave them whole, ranchero style, but like I said, the kiddos like a smoother texture. Either way, they are delicious.
If you have never made your own beans, I urge you to try. That brown paste that comes from a can? It isn't beans. It is gross and I am not even going to say what it reminds me of.
Instead, I am going to tell you to cook up a pot of beans this weekend. You'll be glad you did. I promise.
Oh yeah, and they're good for your heart, too.
Happy weekend!


Annie said...

Thanks for sharing! I am never quite happy with how my beans turn out, so I am delighted to try your way. :)

Lillian said...

I made beans yesterday, they were so good. I saute my onion in bacon grease. I am a fan of bacon grease. I otherwise followed your directions and they had just the right amount of juice,excuse me, broth.

Anonymous said...

I made beans for the first time this week! My daughter said they were the "best ever"- Thanks!

Laura said...

Oh - a good idea right when I needed one! Thanks Greta! On my short list of things to make!

Lillian said...

I make a pot of pinto beans every week now since I tried your recipe....they are that good.