It has been cold here in Ann Arbor – very conducive to long simmering meals I had some dried beans hanging out in the pantry that had been purchased for craft purposes, but decided to use them for their intended purpose – food! So, I dropped 1 1/3 cups of beans (to get 4 cups cooked) in a great big bowl of water and let them sit overnight. It really doesn’t take anything more than that. Yes, there are quick soak methods, but I find that taking the long slow way leads to a better bean.
The next morning I rinsed the beans thoroughly, put them in a large pot, covered them with water, added a bay leaf, and cooked them for an hour. Bean cooking times vary, so it’s always good to start checking for tenderness about 15 minutes before they’re due to be done.
Finally, it was time for the chili! I adapted the original white bean chicken chili recipe to use the soaked beans. There was an appreciable difference in texture – the beans were firm and had a definite bean taste, which can sometimes be masked by the salt in canned beans.
Adding a simple tossed salad and dilled biscuits turned it into a great meal.
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