Two Recipes for Beans from Scratch

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The two most reliable ingredients in my pantry are beans and rice. And, in turn, the two most reliable recipes are these Two Recipes for Beans from Scratch. 

The variety of beans or style of rice doesn’t matter, and hasn’t really mattered for most of my life. When I lived in my parent’s home, it was almost always a bag of Goya dried black beans and the cheapest long grain white rice available (typically, Uncle Ben’s).

My Honduran mother would first wash, clean, and soak the beans overnight. Then, she’d simmer them slowly, with various aromatics (garlic, onion, cilantro), and enough tap water to cover.

Two Recipes for Beans from Scratch

When the beans finally gave into tenderness about an hour later, she’d crack a few eggs into the broth and eat that first bowl almost naked — just beans, broth, and that flavorful poached egg. That bowl was a Honduran version of chef’s treat, no doubt, and was her frequent lunch or afternoon pick-me-up.

For family dinner, the beans were served with boiled white rice, typically tinted orange with ground achiote. Though always cooked separately, they were scooped onto the same plate, side by side, as if they should stand alone when we all knew they belonged together, so very much so together.

Sort of like these Two Recipes for Beans from Scratch, they both belong in your back pocket, promise.

Two Recipes for Beans from Scratch

I learned how to make beans by watching my mother or her mother bubble them to life. And when I went off to college, I found simpler ways to make a proper bowl. They were, after all, some of the cheapest ingredients available and could always be relied on to satisfy the most homesick of bellies.

In fact, every bit of longing for my childhood life was eased when I popped open a can of beans, rinsed and drained them, and sautéed them in olive oil, white onion, and garlic. Scooped on some instant brown rice, those beans were home, simple and stat.

Two Recipes for Beans from Scratch

Today, I still eat beans and rice frequently. Typically, I make them the proper way from dried beans. It takes quite a bit longer than popping open a can but they do taste way better. Unless I’m wiped out from the day and can’t fathom taking more than thirty minutes to pull a meal together.

Because, you see, I’m no stranger to the drain and rinse of canned beans. There’s no shame in the can. Sometimes we have to eat fast. And that’s why there are Two Recipes for Beans from Scratch down below. Because we all need to take it easy sometime and just do whatever we can, make whatever we can, to get food on the table fast.

What’s your go-to comfort food recipe? Something that makes you feel good and comes together fast? I’d love to hear about it.

Two Recipes for Beans from Scratch

Choose your favorite beans for both recipes. I prefer dried beans from an organic farm (like the ones in these images from Farmers to You) or any of the varieties sold by Rancho Gordo.

For canned beans, just find good ones that are (preferably) organic and offered in cans that are not lined with the chemical BPA (bisphenol A, a synthetic estrogen linked to many health problems).

Ingredients:

The 15-Minute Method
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 chopped white onion
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans in liquid, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
The Overnight Method
  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves

Directions:

For The 15-Minute Method:
  1. Add the oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and let it warm up. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the beans and sauté until they're hot. Shut off the heat and stir in the salt. Serve immediately or cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, using as needed.
For The Overnight Method:
  1. In a very large bowl, soak the beans in 10 cups of cold water for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans.
  2. In a large pot with a lid, add the beans, bay leaf, garlic, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to let the beans simmer until tender, which should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Put the lid on partially, so more liquid stays in the pot and only some steam is released. Stir here and there, and add water to keep the beans cover, as needed. Taste occasionally to assess how tender they are.
  3. When the beans are close to tender, remove the bay leaf and garlic cloves, and stir in the sea salt. When they’re as tender as you would like them, remove from them from the heat and stir in the herbs. Serve immediately or cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, using as needed. You can also freeze the beans in 1-quart containers for up to 6 months.
Photos taken by Maggie Battista.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique​–​a food​-​retail concept space ​with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.

Follow Eat Boutique’s founder Maggie here: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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