Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Noble Bean

A bean is not a bean is not a bean. They're delicate critters that are worth the trouble it takes to cook them carefully. I'm not above opening a can, but the recent demise of the electronic pressure cooker left me considering the wisdom of an overnight soak and a carefully attended simmering pot.

Beans seem to have been bred for faster cooking than the edible pebbles I recall from the Sixties. The quick soak method described on packages is easy to achieve in a rice cooker. Pick over the dry beans to check for rocks, no kidding!, and remove broken beans. Wash in cold water and remove the beans that float.

Cover with a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil hard for a few minutes and turn off the heat. In an hour or two, drain and rinse the beans (to control their gassy potential) and proceed with your intended recipe. Keep a careful eye on the doneness: a good bean deserves attention. It is done when the skin peels back if you blow on one. Cook it to a perfect texture or cook it to a creole fare-thee-well over long slow heat -30-

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