No soak beans, three ways

Myths are being exploded every day in the online foodiverse. Just as it’s been discovered that you can easily make no-knead bread, so also it’s been discovered that you can make no-soak beans (read that thread in its entirety before setting out on your journey). While this is not exactly revelatory – beans are not soaked overnight in many cuisines – a variety of myths have been exploded, namely:

1. soaking beans makes them cook faster – FALSE
2. soaking beans reduces those “side effects” – FALSE *
3. adding salt to beans at the outset increases cooking time – FALSE

* the main way to reduce “side effects” is to eat more legumes, or eat Beano. personally, I don’t happen to suffer from them so there.

This method, developed by Russ Parsons, takes a total of 90 minutes, often less. Essentially you preheat your oven to the level that will keep the beans at a steady simmer (about 300F for me), and bring the beans to a boil on the stove with some salt and about an inch and a half of good cold water. Then put the beans in the preheated oven for 75 minutes. Add aromatics, if you desire, about halfway through. At the end, taste for salt and serve over steamed white rice.

For the red beans shown at top I used Goya kidney beans and added a few smashed cloves of garlic, some bay leaves, and fresh sage leaves and summer savory from the garden. I think the savory works terrifically well with this dish. See photo of “aromats” above. (Not shown: a tiny bit of dried red Thai bird chile, de-seeded and crushed.)

Check for salt before serving over rice. Of course a full battery of hot sauces should be made available, plus some freshly ground black pepper and (in this case) a side of asparagus and some leftover chicken on top. (If I’d had time to make a fresh tomatillo salsa, that would have been perfect.)

I also tried black beans two ways. Again, the dried beans came from Goya.

The first way was simple no-soak black beans, prepared with the aromatics as for the red beans shown above. The result looked like this:

For the second way, I sauteed some shallots, garlic, onion, sage and chopped fresh green bird chile in olive oil, and added the cooked black beans to this soffrito, and sauteed for a bit longer.

This way came out more succulent-smelling and slightly more attractive-looking as well:

BUT! Strangely, I preferred the simple black beans with the aromatics (which of course could be varied a million ways). They were “beanier”. With the sauté, the garlic in particular took over the dish and made into something different. Not necessarily worse, but also not necessarily necessary with real dried no-soak beans like this. Try the earthy, simple version first and see how you like it.

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