It is slightly embarrassing to admit this, especially after all the cooking classes I took for school...but until this post, I had never cooked beans from dried at my house. And now I am completely sold. I feel as though I have been let in on a really big secret. A few weeks ago I was shopping in the bulk section and as I eyed all the dried goods, made myself grab a bag and portion out some dried garbanzo beans. No time like the present to try something new, right?
So they sat on my counter staring me down for a good two weeks. I would walk by them, using my peripheral vision, saying 'I know! I will!'. So finally, the night before I knew I would be working from home, I clinked the little beans into a glass bowl, covered them in water, put a plate over them and quickly slid them into the refrigerator. Ok. Step one was taken.
I always thought a gigantic amount of time had to be allotted for cooking dried beans. So knowing I would be home all day on the computer, with the stove visible over the screen, I felt safe. And safe I was. And quite proud actually...because it was a real success. It is not nearly as cumbersome of a task as I imagined. So below I have included a little instruction for those of you in the same camp I was about dried beans. Really, it isn't scary. You will be so proud of yourself.
Decide how many beans you want to have on hand. I started with about 2 cups of dried beans. Pour into a medium sized bowl and cover with ample water. This is the re-hydrating process, so give them plenty of water to drink. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 5 hours.
The next day, rinse the beans through a strainer and fresh cold water. Pour them into a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven and pour several cups of water over. I added a few dried bay leaves for a little extra flavor. Bring to a simmer and leave them alone for 45 minutes. Agitating them with a lot of stirring can pull them apart and make them messy. Do a taste test of one bean after this time. Continue simmering in 10 minute increments until done. I cooked mine for about 1 hour 10 minutes. Drain and let cool. From here you can package some up and freeze for another time. You can use the rest however you like, such as in a two bean salad.
Two Bean Salad
Yields 3-4 cups salad
R had some recipe testing to do last Friday, so she had me over for dinner with the instruction to bring a salad. Low and behold I had freshly cooked garbanzos to share, so that was the starting ingredient. If you are pressed for time, by all means use canned beans. This recipe pretty much materialized in my mind as I rode the bus home. The only issue I found with it was that the honey I used was a vanilla tasting one, so it gave the salad an 'interesting' flavor. But if you use regular, mild honey or swap it out with maple syrup, all will be well.
2 cup fresh green beans, blanched and cut into 1" slices
1 red pepper, cut into small cubes
1 cup garbanzo beans, home cooked or from canned
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp melted honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Dash of red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Bring a pot of water to a boil. While you are waiting for that, fill a large bowl with ice water...this will be the bath for the green beans after blanching, to stop the cooking process. When the water begins to boil, add the green beans. Cook for just a minute or two so the beans turn a bright green color. Using tongs, fish out the beans and immediately plunge them into the ice water. Let them bathe for a few minutes. Pull them out of the water, dry with a towel and cut into 1" pieces.
Meanwhile prepare the dressing. Whisk together all ingredients (lemon juice through red pepper flakes) except the olive oil. Slowly pour in the oil at the end, while continuously whisking. Taste and adjust flavors to your liking.
In a medium bowl, combine the red pepper, garbanzos, chopped green beans, and parsley. Toss together with the dressing. Adjust seasoning as you see fit. Serve alongside an entree such as grilled chicken like R made or as a lunch salad.