Cooking Dried Black Beans

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I’d say black beans are my favorite, but that wouldn’t exactly be accurate. They’re probably tied with chickpeas, but my favorite beans are really whichever ones I’m eating at the time. I include both stovetop and Instant Pot directions here. Either way, I much prefer cooking them myself to buying them canned. They’re better, both in quality and healthfulness, and considerably less expensive. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Rancho Gordo beans? Yes, they’re a bit more expensive than grocery store beans, but the quality is immensely superior, and it’s still cheaper than canned.

Back in the day, canned vegetables often had a faint metallic taste, and only lasted so long on the shelf before the metal began to corrode. They lasted a good long time, mind you, but still. That’s why most cans are now lined with a thin layer of plastic. Why does that matter? Because most of those linings contain BPA. Yuk. I’m a pragmatist, so I know I can’t/won’t replace all my canned goods with fresh, but I do like to avoid cans when I can. Dried beans are easy to cook, and they freeze well, so it’s a great place to start. The thing with stovetop cooking is that it’s tedious. Since beans do take some time — at least an hour for most varieties, two or three hours for some — it’s necessary to keep an eye on the stove to make sure the pot neither boils dry nor boils over. Most varieties will cook faster if you soak them overnight, but it’s not mandatory. Cooking just takes longer without a pre-soak. I don’t usually bother with black beans.

If you don’t enjoy babysitting your stove, I have one question for you: Do you have an Instant Pot yet? It’s an electric countertop pressure cooker with built-in safeguards against excess pressure. Your grandmother’s pressure cooker might have exploded spaghetti sauce all over the ceiling, but your instant pot won’t. Since black beans are among the fastest-cooking dried beans, doing them in an Instant Pot won’t necessarily save you much time. Unlike stovetop cooking, though, you can leave the room to go do something else while they cook. Read a book, take a shower, take a nap, help the kids with homework, putter in the garden, whatever you like. Your beans will be done when you return!

The nutrition information below assumes you throw away only the bay leaf. You’ll find a printer-friendly version of the recipe at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients:

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1 pound of dried black beans

1 onion, peeled and quartered

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved

1 fresh jalapeño pepper, cut in half and stem removed

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

4 cups of water

Preparation:

1.) Pick over the beans for any small clumps of dirt or other debris, then rinse and drain them. Place in the Instant Pot’s inner pot. (For stovetop, choose a pot large enough to contain all the ingredients, with plenty of room to spare.)

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2.) Add the remaining ingredients to the pot.

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3.) Close and lock the lid, and shut the steam valve. Press “Manual,” and use the “Adjust” and “+/-“ buttons as needed to set the pot for 25 minutes at high pressure. (For stovetop, bring to a rolling boil for 10  minutes, decrease to a steady simmer, and cook for one hour or until beans are done. Check frequently, adding more water as necessary. Skip to Step 5.)

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4.) When the cycle is done, allow a 10 minute NPR (Natural Pressure Release). Release any remaining pressure and remove the inner pot.

5.) Remove the bay leaf, and drain the beans. Use the broth instead of water in whatever recipe you’re using the beans in, or save it for another use. You can remove the remnants of the onion, pepper, and garlic, or leave them in. Now you’re all set to make Best Ever Black Bean Soup, Black Bean Veggie Spuds, Black Bean Enchiladas, Santa Fe Stew, or any number of other yummy dishes!

BBNutritionLabel

Cooking Dried Black Beans


Ingredients


1 pound of dried black beans
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, cut in half and stem removed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
4 cups of water

Directions


1.) Pick over the beans for any small clumps of dirt or other debris, then rinse and drain them. Place in the Instant Pot’s inner pot. (For stovetop, choose a pot large enough to contain all the ingredients, with plenty of room to spare.)
2.) Add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
3.) Close and lock the lid, and shut the steam valve. Press “Manual,” and use the “Adjust” and “+/-“ buttons as needed to set the pot for 25 minutes at high pressure. (For stovetop, bring to a rolling boil for 10  minutes, decrease to a steady simmer, and cook for one hour or until beans are done. Check frequently, adding more water as necessary. Skip to Step 5.)
4.) When the cycle is done, allow a 10 minute NPR (Natural Pressure Release). Release any remaining pressure and remove the inner pot.
5.) Remove the bay leaf, and drain the beans. Use the broth instead of water in whatever recipe you’re using the beans in, or save it for another use. You can remove the remnants of the onion, pepper, and garlic, or leave them in.

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