How to make beans?

posted on: Friday, June 27, 2008

I've been putting off posting a recipe for beans because I figured everyone knows how to make it. Right?! Once you learn how to make a good pot of beans people will compliment you by saying "agora pode casar" meaning "now you can get married." Well I've been married for 4 years now and have been making beans for about 10 and I'm still not convinced that they are as good as I would like them to be. However, I do make beans at least once a week and we eat it at least every other day. I usually make a big batch and leave some in the fridge and make sure to always freeze at least enough for 2 meals.

Here is a step by step process of how I make beans.

1- measure 4 cups of dried pinto or black beans.
2- Even though the beans here are usually pretty clean I still go through and make sure there are no small pebbles. You'd be surprised at how many times I've found random little things.
3- rinse out the beans and soak. Soaking beans is a very importnat step and you'll be hating yourself if you skip this process and so will your energy bill. By soaking the beans you reduce the amount of time it has to boil.
4- There are 2 ways that I soak beans.
  • The first is by placing the beans in a large bowl and adding 8 cups water and leave it over night.
  • The second way is just as effective and quicker. Place the beans in a large pot with 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling you turn off the heat and let it stand for an hour
5- After you soak the beans DRAIN the water and rinse once again. Place the beans either in a pressure cooker or a large pot and add enough water to cover the beans plus 4 inches.
6- If you are cooking in a pressure cooker make sure the water comes to a boil and turn it down and let it cook on low for about 30 minutes. If you don't have a pressure cooker then cook on high for about 30 minutes and simmer for and additional 30-45 minutes (until the beans are soft)
7 while the beans are cooking prepare the seasoning. I like to add bacon. So I fry up 1/2 pack of bacon. I chop it up and place in a skillet. This is optional. If you're vegetarian skip this part and close your eyes so you won't have to see the picture below.

8- while the bacon (or not) is frying I chop one whole onion and 5 big cloves of garlic.

(o.k fine, Enzo chops the garlic)

9- I add the garlic and onion to the frying pan and sprinkle some oregano.

10- once the beans are cooked I place 2 scoops of beans inside the skillet with the rest of the seasoning. This is a very important step and one that my grandmother never skipped or did different, so for tradition's sake I am a firm believer in this step. It helps to thicken the bean and to flavor it more. You know how the day after you make something the flavor is usually stronger? Well this step kind of does that. Let the beans simmer with the seasoning for about 3 minutes. Then place everything back in the large pot with the rest of your beans and let simmer for an additional 5 minutes stirring constantly.

11- Add salt to taste. If you made it with bacon just add a tiny bit.
12- make sure it's cooled before you freeze any of it.

Do you have any special ways of making beans?
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  1. I recently discovered cherry shaped yellow tomatoes at the farmer's market. I love them because they give it a little bit of sweetness. I've been frying them diced with the bacon once everything else is done just for a minute or so more.

  2. I like the tomato idea. I know lots of people who uses a can of tomato sauce in their beans. I'm going to try with the yellow tomatoes. We might have some soon in our garden.

  3. ok.... that looks so good! my fav.

  4. how fun, we used to grow those pear shaped yellow tomatoes- they are nice! love this recipe! thanks for posting a good basic!

  5. Beans are a family favorite. I like the way you do it so I will try this method one day. I usually make mine in a pressure cooker, with salt, a whole onion, a whole garlic, cumin and pepper. When they are done, I refry them with a half a stick of butter and lots of the water they were cooked in. Then I heat corn tortillas and wrap them in a tea towel to keep them hot and use them as a spoon to eat the soupy beans.

    I am looking forward to trying your way! Thanks for sharing.

  6. We usually use black beans: the schedule is to soak beans overnight and then throw the flavorful things in with the beans into a crock pot in the morning, and then eat for dinner, so it takes a bit of planning ahead. We use diced ham and sausage in our feijoada, as well as a bay leaf or two, lots of garlic and onions, and I like to use tempero as well to get an extra flavorful kind of salt. We like to eat the feijoada with rice, and banana farofa. The sweetness of the bananas are perfect to offset the saltiness of the beans! Yum, your recipe looks good too! We'll have to try a few things differently...

  7. I'm a first time bachelor trying to learn to cook! This recipe was so helpful and reminds me of what I once saw my great grandmother doing in her kitchen. I'm cooking this beans as I write this and think it will, be wonderful with the cornbread.

    Thanks for the post!


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