Cheap Eats: Beans, beans!!! »
I know I’m behind the curve on this one, but it’s something that bears repeating: 90-Minute No-Soak Beans. You heard me. Beans. From drizzle to sizzle in 90 minutes, and you don’t have to do anything crazy like pressure-cook them or any of that kind of shit.
[Image courtesy ranchogordo.com]
Now, this method has been written up all over the damn place, but I found it on The Kitchn, so that’s where I’m linking it to. Basically, what you do is preheat your oven to 325, get a pound of dried beans, throw them in an oven-safe pot with a lid (a dutch oven is ideal for this, so much so that I’m planning a trip to Target to get one—what? They’re $30 there!) and add enough water to cover the beans, plus one inch, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover your pot and throw it in the oven for about 90 minutes. Check on them after an hour or so, and if they look dry, add some more water. If, after 90 minutes, they’re not quite done, give ‘em another half hour or so, but they should be done by the two-hour mark.
If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use a regular pot (as long as it’s oven-safe—no plastic handles or glass bits!), but you have to find a good, heavy lid to cover it. Me, being kind of a scumbag, I used an all-metal stock pot and covered it with my cast-iron frying pan. It worked just fine, though if you use this method, be careful to pull the frying pan out of the oven first before removing the pot, so that it doesn’t move, or fall and burn the crap out of you or your kitchen floor.
Now that they’re cooked, prepare for some of the tastiest beans of your entire life, especially if you use some bomb-diggity heirloom beans, like the ones at Rancho Gordo. You can get six or so kinds of their awesome dried beans in the bulk section at Rainbow (I am really into the Good Mother Stallard beans). They’re a bit pricey, but considering that a $5 pound of dried beans will net you something like 10 cups of cooked amazingness (which you can also freeze for later use if you don’t need that much all at once), it’s still cheaper than canned beans, AND they seriously taste a gazillion times better. I was never a bean person, really, and now I could eat those things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Finally, you can add seasoning agents to the beans as they cook (bay leaves, onion, garlic, spices, etc.) but I recommend giving it a try without first (especially if you splash out and get the heirlooms), just to see how amazing good beans taste on their own. Serve ‘em up with some rice and a whole whack of pico de gallo, and you’re welcome!