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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Crock-Pot Basic Beans

I have to admit that I love beans.  It's a good food to love, I have to say, since they're relatively cheap & very nutritious to boot.  I've never been a big fan of canned beans.  They somehow seem very heavy & hard on my digestive system.  And they're not as budget friendly as buying dried beans in bulk & cooking them yourself.  I spent a lot of years trying to figure out how to cook beans.  I tried them on the stove top, I tried them in the oven.  I did long soaks, I did quick soaks, I did no soaks.  But sadly I never found success.  When I finally got a pressure cooker I tried once again & they were decent.  To ME they were decent & I was content.  But hubby wanted more.  On a trip we took across the border we bought a Mexican Olla to cook beans in.  Hubby swore they tasted soooo good when cooked in one of those, that nothing else could compare.  And I have to admit they were quite tasty & much better than the pressure cooker.  And that's how I've been cooking them for the past several years now.  But now I have a slow I was curious & decided to give it a try.  I've only tried it once so far, but the results were very, very good I have to say. 

Crock-Pot Basic Beans

1 Cup dried beans
3 Cups water or broth
seasoning desired
kombu (optional, see note 4)

*simply put the beans & liquid & desired seasonings into the crock pot & cook on low for 10-12 hours

Note 1: I don't soak my beans, though I know a lot of people do.  I have never seen any benefit to it & my beans turn out great without doing it.

Note 2: I did this late at night & left it going overnight.  Oh the aroma is so heavenly, especially when you get up in the morning.

Note 3: How I season my beans depends on my mood, what I'm doing with the beans, & what type of beans they are.  If I'm just going to eat them as they are (like in burritos or as a bowl of beans, etc) I usually just do a basic bay leaf, & some dried minced onion & garlic.  If it's going into another dish I have to consider the flavoring of that dish.  And if it's aduki beans (the healthiest of all beans) it needs to be well seasoned, they are a tad bland.

Note 4: I also usually add seaweed to my bean pot.  Just a small strip of kombu is what I use.  It is said to add to the nutritional value of the beans & it adds a nice flavor & it is said to help with making the beans more easily digestible.  I leave it up to you if you want to add it or not.

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