I can't figure out how to cook beans and lentils so that they are very soft inside, but don't fall apart. Somehow their skins always break when I cook them. Cook's Illustrated had a very good lentil soup recipe a while ago that suggested sweating lentils with sauteed veggies, tomatoes, and salt for 10 minutes before adding broth. They said that the acid from tomatoes and the salt help lentils stay together no matter how long you cook them in liquid afterwards. It worked very well when I followed that recipe exactly, but I can't get it to work if I just want to cook lentils for a side dish (without the soup). I tried sweating lentils in some white wine and salt before adding water, but they still fall apart. Any suggestions on how to achive perfect lentils? Do the same principles apply to beans, or are beans different?
Thanks so much!