Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Perfect Pot of Black Beans

Yep, it's been another wonderful summer.  My kids go back to school next week so this is our last week to enjoy the random, no-schedule, lazy days of summer.  

A highlight of this summer was hosting dinner for two of my favorite friends and their kids.  We all enjoyed Black Beans and Rice with all the necessary accoutrements (i.e., tomatoes, avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, etc.).  I finally found the best way to cook dried black beans!  The key is NOT to do the overnight soaking but rather the quick boil/hour soak.  I will never used canned black beans for this type of recipe ever again.  I mean it.  This recipe is too easy and the results are too delicious.  
Pot of Black Beans
Adapted from an Epicurious recipe.

2 lb. dried black beans, rinsed under cold water, picked over to remove any debris
1 onion, halved
3 garlic cloves, peeled, lightly crushed
2 bay leaves
1-2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. ground cumin

Place beans in a large heavy pot and cover with water by 2". Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from heat. Let sit 1 hour.
Uncover and add more water if needed to cover by 2". Stir in onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, oregano, and cumin. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Partially cover beans with lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer, checking after 1 ½ hours until beans are tender and creamy, 1 ½ –3 hours total.  If you like lots of liquid with your beans then add water to beans to cover half-way through cooking process.  I like mine to have very little liquid at the end.
Serve beans immediately or let cool completely, then transfer beans and cooking liquid to airtight containers.  
*Beans can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.
*The oregano and cumin can be modified easily - add more or less to suit your tastes.  But don't add extra salt!  It really cooks down so more would be too much.
*I also had great success making only 1 pound of dried beans at a time.  I used only 1 teaspoon each of salt, oregano, and cumin, 1 garlic clove, but still used the 2 bay leaves and one onion.