Sunday, August 14, 2016
I'm in a bean phase right now.
Living in California has given me access to Rancho Gordo heirloom dried beans which are fresher and plentiful in varieties. It's really upped my bean game. Whether it be TheKitchn's Cooking Beans in the Oven plain, with rando spices thrown in, or with a bit of caramelized onions and bacon from the TheKitchn Recipe thrown on top. I always add epazote to the oven-baking portion of the festivities. But for the yellow-eyed peas I added some taco seasoning, smushed garlic cloves, and dried shallots. For the midnight black beans I added some dried basil grown in Pittsburgh. Topping with bacon, caramelized onions, or shredded cheese is nice when you have it. As is cooking with a bit of bacon fat.
You don't need a fancy pot for bean-making, although TheKitchn recommends a fancy clay La Chamba pot. I've been using this 1.5 qt terra cotta Napa pot from Crate & Barrel. This sweet little clearance number perfectly manages a half pound of dried beans, which is good for about 3-4 servings. The Napa pot has a glazed interior and it's oven- and microwave- safe, but a no go on the stove top. If I soak the beans overnight, it only uses one pot, but if I have to boil on the stove for quick rinsing, then I'm at 2. Could be worse!
Beans three ways.
Start with good quality dried beans.
Soak beans overnight or try the one hour quick soak method.
Follow TheKitchn's Cooking Beans in the Oven.
Give those suckers a bit of flavor!
Follow the above 'Plain Beans' instructions.
Throw in some spices before you put the beans+water in the oven. Epazote. Taco seasoning. Smushed garlic. Basil. Molasses. Mustard. Worcestershire Sauce. Whatever random spices and flavorings you have on hand that might taste good. Salt. Definitely some salt. Wing it. Experiment.
Follow the instructions for plain or spiced beans above, then top with something delicious. Like cheese or bacon or caramelized onions.