Beans & Peas

Cooking Beans

One cup dried beans (250 ml) yields about 2 1/2 cups cooked beans (625 ml). Because beans required long cooking, which uses energy, cook a pound or two at a time for various recipes or freeze for later use. To decrease cooking time, soak beans overnight in three to four cups water per cup of dried beans. Or, for a quick method, bring beans to a boil for two minutes and soak one hour before cooking. Cook beans in soaking water.
Cooking time varies according to size of bean. Smaller beans usually need less than an hour; larger bean 2 to 3 hours. Test for tenderness by tasting.


Soaking Tips

Hot-soak (preferred) and Quick-soak method.
For every pound of dry beans, any variety, add 10 cups of hot water. Remember beans will rehydrate to at least twice their dry size, so be sure to start with a large enough pot. (Note: up to 2 tsp. of salt per pound of beans may be added to help the beans absorb water more evenly.) Heat to boiling, let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour (quick-soak method), but preferably four hours or more. The longer soaking time is recommended to allow a greater amount of the gas-causing properties to dissolve in the water, thus helping the beans to be more easily digested and lessening the after-effects. Whether you soak the beans for an hour or several hours, remember to discard the soak water.


Cuban-Style Black Beans

Serves 6
In large frypa, sauté in 2 Tbs. olive oil until soft:
1 cup green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Add:
1 16oz. cans black beans or 4 cups cooked beans with juice
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 Tbs. vinegar
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
Serve over rice.


Kenyan Curried Split Peas

Serves 4-6
Soak overnight, or heat to boiling, turn off heat and let stand 1 hour:
1 cup yellow split peas
3 1/2 cups water
Bring to boil, then simmer until soft and mushy, about 45 minutes
In separate frypan, sauté over medium heat until brown:
2 Tbs. oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
Add:
2 Tbs. curry powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
Fry 1 minute, mix with cooked split peas
Add: 2-4 Tbs. cilantro (If you aren't acquainted with cilantro, start with 2 Tbs. It's potent)
Simmer briefly to blend flavors. Eat with chaptis or rice.


Dhal (India)

Serves 4-6

Fry in 2 Tbs. oil until brown:
1 onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ginger root, finely grated (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
Add:
1 cup dried lentils or split peans (if using split peans, soak overnight or by quick method)
3 cups hot water
1 tsp. salt or to taste
Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove cover and simmer over very low heat, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes more, until lentils are mushy and thick. Garnish with onions, thinly sliced and browned, or a squeeze of lemon. Serve with rice.


Savory Brazillian Beans

Serves 8
Soak overnight or by quick method:
2 cups black, kidney or pinto beans
6 cups water
Before cooking add:
1 tsp. salt
1 ham hock or pork hock
Cook about 2 hours or until tender. Cut meat from bones and return to beans.
Add:
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
pepper to taste
Cook uncovered until thick, about 30 minutes. In separate saucepan, cook about 4 cups of 2-4 of the following vegetables, cut into large pieces:
Potatoes, cabbage, yams, sweet potatoes, okra, carrots, cauliflower leaves
Cook just until tender. Drain liquid.
In frypan sauté in 2 Tbs. oil:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped (optional)
When onion is transparent, add:
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
Cook until tomatoes are tender.
Add cooked vegetables and sautéed vegetables to beans.
Heat 2 minutes. Serve with rice and slices of orange


Cajun Bean Soup

Buy 15 bean soup in dried bean section of grocery store.
Cook according to directions on package.
Serve with rice, if desired.