Classes are finally back in session this week, and since I’ll be busier than I’ve been in the past month, I was looking for a high-protein side-dish that will store well and that I can use throughout the week. I really like black beans, and have wanted to try cooking up a batch from scratch. I’ll also be able to use them in other dishes, saving time later in the week.
There are two tips that I’ve read about cooking black beans. First, soaking (and then rinsing) the beans before cooking helps to reduce the problems with gas associated with eating beans. Second, I’ve seen several sources that recommend adding a small amount of baking soda when cooking them – this is said to help them to retain their black color and/or reduce gas. I’m not sure if it helps with either, but it seems worth a try.
I started with dried black beans, so to begin, I soaked:
- 2 cups dried black beans, picked over
Place in a bowl along with 4-6 cups of water (the water should cover the beans by a couple of inches), then place in the refrigerator to soak for 4-8 hours.
Rinse the beans, then place in a large dutch oven:
- Soaked and rinsed black beans
- 8 cups of water
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for about one hour. At this point add:
- 2 red onions, roughly chopped
- about 15 sun dried tomato halves (not packed in oil), chopped
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar (preferably unfiltered)
Continue to simmer over medium-low heat for another hour or so, until the beans are tender. Be careful not to cook to rapidly (or else the beans will turn to mush), and to check on the level of liquid. The liquid should gradually evaporate, but if they become too dry they will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. I added about 1 cup of extra water as they cooked.
To serve on their own as a side-dish top with:
- reduced-fat sour cream
- chopped scallions
I enjoyed these as a side-dish on their own, but will also be using them later this week in beef tacos, and nachos.