Cooking 101-Beans in the Slow Cooker
I used to avoid cooking dried beans because of the soaking and hours of cooking on the stove. I have no clue why it never occurred to me to cook them in the slow cooker. You can soak them overnight (or, many people skip the soak), add your seasonings, water or broth and let them go all day. Here is a basic recipe:
- 1lb of dried beans
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1. The night before the beans are to be cooked, cover them with water by a couple of inches and allow them to soak (I soak them in the unplugged slow cooker and put a lid on it.)
2. The next morning, drain them. Place them back in the slow cooker.
3. Cover with water by two inches and add your seasonings (there are arguments over when to add salt, but in the slow cooker, it doesn’t seem to matter in my experience.)
4.Cook all day on low.
* My beans are usually firm but done in about 6 hours. They are really soft after 8 hours.
These are just basic beans. I put on a pot of black beans this morning and added chopped garlic (3 cloves), a chopped onion, and 2 tbsp of Mexican seasoning. I am using them to make black bean chili tonight, then Friday, we will have black bean and brown rice soft tacos with fajita veggies, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. Pinto beans can be cooked about the same way and are great in taco soup, chili, or with sausage served over rice. Adding bacon, a ham hock or other smoked meat before cooking makes the beans great as well, as do chopped bell peppers or jalapenos.
I have also done chick peas for a curry in the slow cooker (I am making them fresh next time I make hummus), and white beans for Boston baked beans. Kidney beans supposedly do not do well in slow cookers because they must be boiled. I had terrible results with lentils because they cook so quickly and disintegrate.