Cooking with dried beans is one of the easiest ways to improve your food. Once you learn how to cook dried beans and taste the difference, you’ll never go back to canned beans. The texture of dried beans is so much better, and the cooking liquid from the beans is a great addition to soups and stews. We get the majority of our beans from Rancho Gordo, based in Napa. Many restaurants, including The French Laundry, use their beans, so we are fortunate to also have access to them. If you don’t live in the Bay Area, you can order them online.
If we are in a major hurry, we make our beans in an electric pressure cooker (see how here) since they cook in about 30 minutes. However, we have noticed a difference in texture and it tends to make the beans peel, so we’ve started to take the time to cook them on the stove, which takes 1-2 hours.
If you don’t want your beans to flake and peel, don’t add any salt to the beans while cooking. You also should either serve immediately or cool them in their liquid. If they cool in the air they will start peeling and breaking. If you’re looking for great bean recipes, check out sausage and beet greens, white bean crostini, white bean salad with arugula, or ribolitta.
- 1 lb dried beans
- 2-3 sprigs of sage
- 1-2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- Rinse beans in a colander and make sure to pick through to check for any small stones.
- Add to a heavy bottomed pot and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water.
- Add herbs and garlic.
- Place pot over low-medium heat and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for at least an hour, adding additional hot water as needed to keep the beans fully submerged.
- After an hour, begin testing the beans for doneness periodically. Remove from heat once they reach desired doneness.
- Serve immediately or cool in liquid.