Cooking a perfect pot of beans

By Jason Skrobar
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  • Dried beans (black, pinto, kidney, white)
  • Fennel, cumin, oregano, rosemary, etc


  1. First off, ensure that your dried beans have not been sitting on a shelf for too long. Buying dried beans from bulk stores or health food stores if possible is a good option.
  2. This method will work well with most dried beans; black, pinto, kidney, white etc. Rinse the beans well in cold water, making sure there are no small stones or debris.
  3. Soak the beans in cool well salted water overnight (about 1 TBSP of salt per pound of beans) OR if you can’t or forgot to do this step you can use the quick soak method. Bring the beans to a boil, cover and remove from heat and let sit for an hour. You can now proceed to the next step.
  4. Top the beans off with a bit more fresh water (the beans should be covered with about two to three inches of water) and add some aromatics such as onions or shallots, garlic, carrots, celery or even some ginger. You can also throw in some dried chillies for a bit of heat or other dried spices such as fennel, cumin or coriander. Fresh herbs will also help develop flavour - try adding parsley, oregano or rosemary. Finally add some good quality extra virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup per pound of beans.
  5. Now you’re ready to cook! Bring the pot to a boil over high heat then lower the temperature to it’s lowest setting - you’re looking for a nice gentle simmer. Cover and let the beans simmer for about two hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
  6. You’ll know the beans are ready when they are plump and moist, but not falling apart. Taste the broth and fine-tune the seasoning if necessary.
  7. You’re almost there! Remove all the aromatics, spices and herbs and store the beans in their broth in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze them for up to three months.

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