Then I stumbled upon a thread on one of the Egullet cooking forums, that stated the best way to cook dried beans to perfection, was to put them into a heavy pot, UNSOAKED, with lots of SALT ADDED, and cook them for a couple hours in a 250F degree oven.
I was wary about trying this out, as it contradicted the received wisdom to never salt beans until they are basically done cooking, or else their skins will harden and extend the cooking time. But I tried it anyway, and they actually came out great, much to my surprise.
If anyone is interested, here's the recipe:
BASIC OVEN-BAKED BEANS
1 lb. unsoaked dried beans6 to 8 cups water2 teaspoons or more saltseasonings, if any
Heat oven to 250 F. Place beans, water, salt, and any seasonings* into a heavy pot and bring to a simmer on stovetop. Cover pot, put in oven, and cook until done, usually a little over two hours.
* they say not to add anything acidic (vinegar, hot sauce containing vinegar, tomatoes, etc) to the beans while they are cooking, as it will harden them.
I make black beans for burritos using this method almost every week; I like to add a tablespoon or more of liquid smoke to the cooking liquid to give them additional flavor.
I also prepare dried split peas, like chana dal or black-eyed peas using the oven-method - they take about 45 minutes to an hour, and need a little less water.
Recently, I cooked some dried chickpeas that had been in a jar on the shelf for over a year. I thought I would need to increase the cooking time substantially, but it turned out they only took about two and half hours to cook.
― i like to eat beans, Wednesday, 14 December 2005 22:16 (fifteen years ago) link
― peat moss, Tuesday, 30 May 2006 09:07 (fifteen years ago) link
also, they need to be dried at the right time when they're fresh. i'm guesing that better-quality dried beans are easier to deal with.
― AaronK (AaronK), Tuesday, 30 May 2006 17:43 (fifteen years ago) link
― Trayce (trayce), Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:55 (fifteen years ago) link
― caitlin oh no (caitxa1), Sunday, 4 June 2006 02:24 (fifteen years ago) link
my soaking and cooking is not working out quite right : /
― j., Saturday, 9 November 2013 23:10 (eight years ago) link
what's the matter? I used to be a little impatient when I first cooked beans. it's important to let them go for a little longer when you think they are just done. and salt should never be added when soaking for some reason. those are two things that first come to mind that can go awry.....oh, and don't boil the hell out of 'em, just gently boil a wee bit above a simmer for best results, imo
― making plans for nyquil (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 10 November 2013 16:35 (eight years ago) link
I have had luck with the pressure cooker and slow cooker methods! Slow cooker is particularly easy and effective.
― quincie, Sunday, 10 November 2013 16:39 (eight years ago) link
i dunno, they got to the point of being edible (and not like in a barely tolerable way) but never truly softened, and i surely let them go longer than long.
i've tried twice now, once with a hot-soften before cooking, and once with a cold overnight soak. similar results each time.
but in both cases i was cooking with other things, and after a certain point i just figured, i couldn't let it cook forever if i wanted to keep any of the other ingredients tasting vaguely like themselves.
― j., Sunday, 10 November 2013 22:14 (eight years ago) link
still no luck with kidneys rather than black, either i'm cooking them too hot or the additional ingredients i'm cooking them with are too salty too soon.
― j., Sunday, 24 November 2013 01:56 (eight years ago) link
wish i could see what you're doing j. as i have no idea where the problem lies.cooked a buncha red beans yesterday - soaked 4 hours, drained, rinsed, boiled ~ 75 minutes. done. then added some salt. so red beans and rice, y'all. never made it before but have eaten a version or two. gonna add some vegetarian sausage to the mix; and cayenne, oregano and smoked paprika are the only other ings aside from the obvious
― making plans for nyquil (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 1 December 2013 22:00 (eight years ago) link