Beans. Such a simple, primitive food. Yet so controversial in their cooking.
Over the years I’ve heard infinite opinions about when you should salt the beans and whether you should soak them. (To add to the confusion, some say you should salt them while you soak them.) Sigh.
As for the actual cooking part, this excerpt from The Kitchn sums up my frustration with basically all bean recipes:
Put on the lid and bake for 75 minutes. Check the beans and stir them. If they are tender, take them out of the oven. If they aren’t done, put them back in for 15 minute intervals until they are, adding a cup of hot water if they seem to be drying out. This will take at most 2 hours, but will probably take less than 90 minutes.
What the what? I can tell you one thing for sure: Whoever wrote that recipe does not have young children.
If you know me at all, you know that I do not like fussy recipes, and most bean recipes make me tired just thinking about them. But I have good news. You can avoid all the fuss by simply cooking beans in the slow cooker.
It’s so easy and the beans come out just right!
For serving, you have tons of options:
As a side dish served with tacos …
Mashed up and used as a base for chalupas …
Or spooned over chips for nachos ….
They even work well in lunches for kids!
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Easy Crock-Pot Beans
1 lb. bag dried beans
8-10 cups water or chicken stock
1 clove garlic
1-2 slices cooked bacon
1/2 – 1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste
Pour the beans into a colander. Wash the beans and pick out any stones or debris. Pour the cleaned beans into your slow cooker. Add the water or stock, garlic, and bacon. Cook on high for four hours. (UPDATE: Pinto beans will be cooked in 4 hours. However, black beans and Great Northern beans will take a little longer. Continue cooking those beans for another hour, or until soft.) During the last 30 minutes, add 1/2 Tablespoon salt and stir. Finish cooking; adjust salt as needed. Serve.