I have to admit I’ve gotten lazy about cooking beans. Part of the trouble with cooking beans from scratch is all that washing, soaking, discarding of water and cooking involved. Mine usually boil over on the stove as well, making an atrocious mess. Add to this that they are easily available and cheap to buy in cans these days, it is easy to see why I stopped.
So when I came across a shared post from the LA Times on the Where’s the Beef Facebook page about cooking beans without soaking, I was intrigued. I had also just bought a set of lovely new 600ml round ceramic dishes with lids, so I gave them their first road test by cooking some beans.
I made two kinds, some borlotti beans and some cannellini beans.
I gave the beans a quick rinse, put them in their dishes, covered them with boiling water, added a small amount of salt and then cooked them slowly in the oven until they were tender. I’ve cooked them a couple of ways, at a constant 150 deg C for a longer time, as well as in the oven with other dishes at a higher temperature for an hour, then turned the oven off and left the beans in to cook on stored heat. Both ways have worked brilliantly.
Frankly, they are a revelation. They are definitely the best beans I’ve eaten in a long time. They taste really, really good, the texture is beautiful, and unlike canned ones they taste more of the bean than salt.
I ate my first batch while they were still warm with some chopped fresh tomato from the garden, some spring onion and a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. But to be honest they are pretty damn delicious, just straight out of the pot. I’ve also eaten them with some mashed roasted tomatoes or roasted red pepper relish folded through as instant baked beans on toast for breakfast. Since my first batch I’ve made them another three times using borlottis, a four bean mix and chick peas. They are so easy.
Fresh from this success, I’m even going to give ful medames another go. I ate some in Sydney at Cafe Shenkin, but my last attempt to create them was a dismal failure. They were still hard after much cooking on the stovetop.
There’s still room for canned beans for the emergency meal, but cooking them like this is likely to become a regular event for me.
- 150 grams dried beans
- ⅓ tsp salt
- boiling water to cover
- Preheat the oven to 150 deg C
- Rinse the beans to remove any dust, and place them into a small ovenproof dish with a lid
- Add the salt
- Cover with boiling water approx 1cm over the beans (ie the beans should be submerged)
- Put into the oven and cook until tender.
- Check every 30 minutes to make sure there is enough liquid and give them a stir.