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Pulse expert needed for my black beans

omarkutty
Posted by omarkutty at 08/25/2010

I have been making black beans from cans for some time now and they usually turn out extremely well. I slow cook them for 5-6 hours with sauted onion, garlic, cumin and a little cayenne. By this method they have an incredibly rich, addictive and satisfying taste. Recently I tried making them from soaked dried beans but they didn't turn out nearly as well. I cooked them for much longer period - until they were mush - but they never quite lost that slightly bitter, pasty taste of undercooked beans. Are there any pulse experts who can help?

Responses

Tatiana
Tatiana08/26/2010 10:37:23
What kinds of canned beans were you using? Were you draining or draining/rinsing them before use or were you using the whole can as is?

What kind of dry beans were you using, how were you soaking them, and then how were you cooking them (liquids, seasonings, anything that is different from when using the canned beans)?
omarkutty
omarkutty08/28/2010 09:08:04
Tatiana, Thanks for replying! I dump the cans in the slow cooker and then stir in the onion, garlic, cumin and cayenne mixture.
The dry beans were bought in bulk from a dominican supermarket, so I have no info on how they were grown. I soaked them overnight, drained the liquid, and put them in a slow cooker (I don't have a pressure cooker). I then did the same thing with the onions and spices. The beans were edible, but they lacked the scrumptousness that black beans often have. Also, they only became edible after they were cooked down to near mush.
Tatiana
Tatiana08/28/2010 14:55:44
Well, let's see here...I'm not a chef, but in my experience, here are some thoughts:

One of the differences is when you're cooking the canned beans, you are working with an already cooked product, so you are basically just heating and flavoring them when you cook them. Also, canned beans often have extra textures with the liquid they are in, and are sometimes also presalted. The dried beans, even after they are soaked, are still raw, so you are putting them through the whole cooking process.

I'm not exactly sure what is causing your concerns, but some things that you can try that might be helpful are:

1. Make sure you pick through your beans well before soaking them to take out any bad ones.
2. Rinse them well a few times after soaking them.
3. Do not add salt until after they are cooked (other spices and herbs are okay).

Also, it might be a good idea, if you are getting any foam or anything from the beans, to cook the beans off first in regular water then drain and flavor and cook them like you do the canned beans. This might also help if any off flavors ended up in that water.

Since cooking separately takes longer, you can try the first three tips first to see if that works alone.

I really hope that helps. Again, I'm not a chef, just an avid home cook.
kindlizard
kindlizard09/30/2010 01:19:46
You may want to change the water depending on how long they soak. I agree firmly w Tatiana's 3 points above. You *may* salt them at the very end of cooking, but the coating that is cooking off would only be preserved by the salt.

Some folks/recipes suggest keeping cooking liquid which I NEVER do. I think its yucky personally. If you feel like your beans turn mushy, cook them shorter periods of time, or check them earlier. I find at times I think they are done but once they set they can get firm again, which is ok if you are going to recook them as you do w spices and such or in any other application.

My only other advice is to stick w it. I feel like the pay off between dried vs canned is huge in so many ways. I've really been cooking w dried beans a lot recently and wish I had stuck with it a while ago when I erred once and deferred to cans for a while. Back on the bulk bins of dry beans is really a lot of fun, cost efficient and more nutritious no doubt!
Kimmi
Kimmi09/30/2010 08:52:32
Like Tatiana said make sure not to add any salt to the beans until the very end, when they are already fully cooked -- the salt will prevent them from softening. I would do as Tatiana suggested and soak, rinse and the next day cook the black beans in water in the stove (skimming, etc) and then, once they are at a consistency you are happy with, put them in the slow cooker with your spices. I use a slow simmer and test them periodically. I think they cook about an hour this way, but test at about 35-40 minutes.

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