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The Absolute last word on Beans

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The Absolute last word on Beans

Pro Chef Sam | Jul 21, 2000 11:39 PM

Alrite alrite lemme settle all this bean stuff here and now. While salt allegedly "toughens" beans, in reality salt simply inhibits their cooking, so it takes longer. Also, like pasta, if you don't season beans during the cooking process they will taste "flat." Yes, its become unfortunatly fashionable to serve "al dente" beans recently amoung restaurant chefs.
But here's the simple solution. #1: Make sure they're resasonably fresh. That dusty bag of pintos in the corner deli? better to get canned. #2 Soak 'em, soak 'em, and soak some more(aat room temp).At least 24 hours. No Cheating! And change the water, especially during warm weather. Plan ahead! This will give you nicely, evenly cooked product that won't "split". And whatever you do, don't use that Joy of Cooking tip where you boil 'em unsoaked for an hour, and then leave 'em to steep. No Good (as much as i love "Joy".) #3 Consider canned. Not a damn thing wrong with Goya beans. They're beautifully cooked, never "split", and not exactly a huge diffference in price.

One last caveat. Wash and pick 'em like your life depends on it. I remember 15 years ago no less an authority than Craig CLaiaburne stating "modern agricultural methods make these steps unncesseary." Bull dinky. Over the years i've picked enough stones and pebbles (esp. out of black beans)to build a new Wall of China. I've also broken a tooth at a well known nuevo Latino joint on a stone. And then there's the matter of "field run material", something the bean packers tell you to keep an eye out for. In real English, field run material is known as rabbit s**t. Want that in your Cassoulette or 3 Alarm Chili ??? So pull up a chair, and pretend like you're cleaning cheap pot back in college, i.e. the gravity method. Just make sure NOT to wash 'em first, as a wet rock looks just like a turtle bean. Nuff said? Trust me on this...

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