- ¾ to 1 cup small dried beans (1/4 to ½” long)
- 4 cups filtered water for soaking
- 6 cups liquid (unsalted or low-sodium stock or more filtered water with any or all of the following aromatics: 3 dried bay leaves; 2 whole cloves, allspice; 1 tsp. dried chile flake, mustard seed, coriander; 1 stick cinnamon )
- Optional: finely chopped onion, carrot, celery and/or garlic
Rinse beans in cold, running water in a fine sieve. Discard any small stones or discolored beans. Soak beans in water at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain beans and discard the soaking water. Rinse the beans again. In a large saucepan or medium-sized stockpot, bring stock or seasoned water to a boil with the beans. When it has reached a high boil, skim the surface of the beans with a ladle to remove any foam. Let the beans cook at a high boil for about three minutes, skimming any foam as it rises. Turn the heat down and cover with a lid tipped slightly to allow some steam to escape. In the last ten minutes of cooking, add a few pinches of salt (taste the water; it should be salty but not overly so.) Alternately, cook your beans, covered, in an oven at 325 F. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Yield: about 3 cups of beans.