Big Pot of Beans
Chances are good you have some dried beans on hand, and that is a great thing. Especially since one basic recipe works for so many kinds, from red beans to white cannellini to black turtle beans. Choose whichever you like, but bear in mind: Sometimes, the best bean is the one already in your pantry.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1pound any dried beans
- Olive oil, as needed
- Aromatics, such as peeled garlic cloves, a halved onion or shallots, a celery stalk or a carrot
- Dried or fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage, oregano or rosemary sprigs, or a bay leaf or two
- A hunk of cured sausage, bacon, ham, smoked duck or pork or a Parmesan rind (optional)
- Chopped fresh herbs or celery leaves, red-pepper flakes, sliced scallion or red onion, flaky sea salt, for serving (optional)
Step 1Rinse the beans, then soak them in salted water (it should taste like the sea) for anywhere from 4 hours to 12 hours. If you don’t have time, you can skip this step.
Step 2Drain beans and put them in a pot or electric pressure cooker. If cooking in a regular pot, add enough water to cover the beans by 2 to 3 inches. If using a pressure cooker, use less water, more like 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Add a drizzle of oil and whatever aromatics and herbs you like. Add enough salt to the cooking water to make it taste like the sea.
Step 3If using a regular pot, simmer the beans for anywhere to 30 minutes to 2 to 3 hours, depending on what variety you used, how old they were and whether or not you soaked them. Check on them periodically, adding more water if the level gets too low (as in, lower than the beans). For the pressure cooker, the timing is anywhere from 5 minutes at high pressure to 50 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
Step 4Garnish with fresh herbs or celery leaves, sliced onion, if you like, a drizzle of oil, and a sprinkle of red-pepper flakes and sea salt.