Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday's Menu: Super Simple Slow Cooker Beans

Beans are a truly delightful food. If the extent of your experience with beans is in a Taco Bell burrito, then you have no idea what you are missing out on. Even store bought, canned beans don't hold a candle to home made, soaked and slow cooked beans- melting in your mouth and dripping with cheese.

We love beans in our house. They are a delicious, satisfying (and nutritious) side dish or snack. Beans are full of protein & fiber, and even cancer preventing properties! Homemade pinto beans can be made into refried beans, or into a dip. We love beans of all kinds- black, kidney, navy, but our true favorite are pinto beans.

We had some lovely pinto beans with tortilla soup over the weekend, and I thought I'd share with you my super simple slow cooker recipe for the best beans you've ever had. The secret to their success is long, slow, cooking.

My mother in law gave me an excellent Mexican cookbook when we got married, written by Rick Bayless, a famous Mexican cook. He says the mistake most American cooks make is undercooking, not overcooking beans. If you don't believe me, try these for yourself- you'll be shocked that they cooked so long, but taste sooo good!

Super Simple Slow Cooker Beans

1 cup organic dried beans (pinto, black, etc)

Filtered or spring water
Sea salt, such as Real Salt
2 tbsp Homemade whey, lemon juice, or yogurt
Optional: one organic onion, quartered

The night before you want to serve, pour beans into your slow cooker and cover generously with water. (You want to completely submerge them, and add enough additionally so that you're not opening the slow cooker frequently the next day adding water)

Add the 2 tbsp whey, yogurt, or lemon juice. I personally prefer whey or raw yogurt.

Cover and leave overnight.

The next morning, turn your slow cooker on High.
If you want to use the onion, add it at this point- separate the quartered pieces into crescents. Let the beans come to a boil. (Usually takes a couple hours.) With most slow cookers, you can leave them on high the entire cooking time, but if your beans are seriously boiling, turn it down to low. You want constant movement on the surface of the water, but definitely not a rolling boil. Monitor the water level throughout the day.

That's it! I cook the beans up to 12 hours, and honestly, the longer the better!

No sooner than 30 minutes before serving, add about 1-2 tspns of sea salt to the beans. I learned from Rick Bayless that if you add them prior to this time frame, the beans will become tough. I never add the salt until immediately before serving.

Top with grated raw cheese & organic sour cream, and enjoy!


Christina B said...

mmmmm... simple and delicious sounding! And if you add brown rice you've got a Complete protein on the cheap :)

Catherine said...

Christina, you are right, it is very simple but delicious! The slow cooker really makes the best beans possible, I think! And beans & rice are such a wonderful combo! (Particularly Spanish rice!)

amykpt said...

so when would you add the rice in then? that sounds super yummy!