Sep 24 2014

Black Beans for All the Things — Recipe

Published by at 1:08 pm under Food,Recipes

Dry beans are one of those things that every human being should probably know how to cook – but with the cheapness and convenience of canned beans, it’s something I’ve previously not bothered to do. As with all things done since human beings began structuring societies around agriculture, it’s easy to do but can be tricky to do correctly.

Why would you want to make beans from dry rather than using canned beans? Maybe you’re watching your sodium intake, maybe you’re concerned about the plastics in the lining in metal cans, maybe you’re just a *really* cheap person with some time on your hands to try something new. I fall into the latter category.

This recipe is not the most flavorful but that is on purpose. These beans are meant to go in everything – soup, burritos, quesadillas. They are purposefully seasoned very simply (read: not much) so they can go pretty much anywhere without causing a fuss.

Note: I’ve been soaking my beans overnight – but I read an article about how this is unnecessary and leads to loss of flavor (likely loss of nutrients as well, the soaking water off my black beans is purple from anthocyanins). I’ll likely be trying to cook beans without the whole pre-soak ritual in the near future. In the meantime, the below recipe has been a success.


1-1/2 cups of Black Beans, dry
4 – 6 cups of water
1 tsp of seaweed (I cut up a 1 inch square nori sheet)
1 shallot
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Better than Bouillon or similar quantity stock concentrate
Salt, to taste

We’ll start with an overnight soak to soften the beans. Rinse and sort your black beans (take out anything that’s not a bean or is a bean that looks unpleasant/bad). I generally don’t worry too much about sorting out bad beans because the soak will help with some of that. Place your beans in a pot or bowl with several inches of water above the top of the beans. Cover the pot with a lid (or the bowl with plastic wrap). Let it sit overnight.

Your beans will magically grow overnight, like one of those dinosaur sponges (see Simpsons episode 3F02: Bart Sells his Soul). The next day, uncover your beans and pick out any beans that are floating or look bad – throw them away. Rinse the rest of the beans and then place them in a large pot (I use my 6 quart pot). Add four cups of water to start, along with the seaweed (supposedly helps prevent the gas associated with beans) chopped shallot, cilantro, bay leaves and oregano. Bring your pot to a boil, and let the beans boil for ten minutes. Once the water is boiling, I add the stock concentrate (in my case, about a teaspoon of Better than Bouillon). Once the beans have boiled for ten minutes, cover the pot with a lid and bring the heat down low, so the beans are just simmering. Stir the beans every ten minutes or so, adding extra water if needed. The beans are done when they reach your desired texture – generally this takes about an hour, but can be longer or shorter, so keep an eye on the beans.

Once the beans are done, drain any remaining liquid off them (in my case, I reserved some of this liquid to add to a broth in a soup) and salt the beans. I use kosher salt – maybe 1 teaspoon or so. You can freeze the beans at this point, but I just refrigerate mine and throw them in soups, quesadillas and salads for the week.

Want to make something tasty to add your beans to? See my recipe for “Tortilla” soup here.

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One Response to “Black Beans for All the Things — Recipe”

  1. […] half cup of the bean cooking broth from earlier in the day — see the black beans recipe here), and the crushed tomatoes. Bring the heat up to high and bring the soup to a boil. While the soup […]

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