I confess: I haven’t made beans from scratch since I was a teenager. I never, ever think to buy dried beans while I’m at the grocery store. Recently I’ve been on a mission to eat more budget-friendly, while maintaining a healthy, organic-when-possible diet. Dried beans = a lot of filling food for very little money. With a few cheapo ingredients you can make an exceptional meal!
1 16-ounce bag dried black beans
2-3 tablespoons kosher salt (halve if using table salt)
2 bay leaves (optional but add a nice flavor)
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
1 tablespoon kosher salt (halve if using table salt)
Dump beans onto a sheet pan and pick over for stones. I always thought that was an urban legend, and of course I had a small white stone in this bag.
Pour beans into a big bowl.
Dissolve 2-3 tablespoons kosher salt into water.
Pour over beans and refrigerate overnight. If you’re in a time crunch, you can just rinse the beans and triple (yes triple) the cooking time.
When you’re ready to cook your beans:
Rinse and drain beans.
Dice one onion and sauté over medium heat in a tablespoon of oil in a 4-quart saucepan.
Mince or grate 3 or 4 cloves of garlic.
When onion is softened, after 4-5 minutes, add garlic and cook for about a minute.
Pour in beans and enough water to cover by an inch.
Put in a bay leaf or two if you have them. You could also add cilantro in this step if you don’t think it tastes like poison.
Bring to a boil (may need to turn up heat).
Turn down heat to simmer then cover and leave it alone for an hour.
Add a tablespoon or so of kosher salt and a few teaspoons of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers (I finally find these in my grocery store after years of searching, Goya brand in the international foods aisle). Next batch, I’m going spicier and dicing a few peppers, and adding more adobo, but two teaspoons gave it a nice, mild spice.
Stir then return to a simmer and cover for another hour.
Taste, add more salt and more adobo if desired. I suggest simmering ten minutes or so if you add more adobo, to cook the adobo and meld the flavor into the beans. If the beans are still hard or “al dente,” they need to cook longer. I suggest slightly increasing your heat, then check the beans every ten to twenty minutes.
Serve over rice, with salsa, or eat them straight–you really can’t go wrong!