Monday, March 7, 2011

Short-Cut for Dried Beans

In my book, canned beans can't hold a candle to dried beans in terms of flavor and texture. Dried beans have a deep earthiness of flavor and a more substantial, toothsome density and heartiness that canned beans usually lack. The only advantage to using canned beans in cooking is their convenience: Just open a can, drain and rinse, and you're ready to go. Most people avoid using dried beans because they don't want to have to soak them overnight--and all dried beans except for lentils require soaking prior to cooking.

If you've been relying on canned beans for your recipes but would prefer to use dried beans if you could cut down the soaking time, this shortcut is for you. It takes less than two hours from start to finish, as opposed to the traditional overnight soak. Start with dried beans and pick through them to remove any little stones or other debris and any broken beans. Rinse the dried beans and place in a large pot with cold water: Use 6 cups of water for a pound of beans. Cover the pot, bring to a boil and boil for two minutes (you might need to reduce the heat just a tad to prevent overflow). Remove the pot from heat and let stand, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain the beans, and you're ready to use them in your favorite recipe.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

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