I used to think that cooking with dried beans was something that only a “special” kind of person does – and i am sure that there are some people out there that are about to place me into that category (or already have me in that category because i take the time to cook for myself). But, the more that i’ve cooked with dried beans, the more that i am realizing that it really isn’t that hard and truly has some great benefits to it as well.
The best benefit has to be how many varieties you can get when you go un-canned – the beans above, cattle beans, their colouring actually looks like a holstein cow! and really, what food that looks fun doesn’t taste better just because it looks better? Next, there is the whole BPA issue – and going to be honest and say i only know that BPA is not good, how much gets into food from cans, honestly not sure, and there is a huge debate on how much it really matters – but because i rather error on the side of caution, if i can make something without BPA, i will. And last, when you cook from dry, you control the salt, again huge debate, blah blah blah but, if you have a choice, why not use it?
Dried beans do need to be soaked, i usually stick them in a bowl of water the night before (but i have done it the morning of as well) so that they are ready for dinner. When i get home from work that night, i stick them in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and wait until they are tender (ranges anywhere from an hour to two hours). Now that i can hear groaning about how long that is going to take, let me tell you another trick – beans freeze well once cooked – just put them on a cookie sheet single layer, then put them into a container to use later – that way you can make a whole bunch and have them right ready for when you need them later.
So tonight’s dish? very very simple if you have pre-cooked the beans.
– 2 pieces of bacon
– one zucchini sliced up
– one shallot (or 1/4 cup of onion)
– 1 1/2 cups of cattle beans (or other bean of your choice)
Brown the bacon, then simply add in everything else – stir frequently for about 5 minutes, add a little salt and pepper, and you have a very simple more than cereal dinner for one