Quicker method for cooking dry beans

(image courtesy of Bush Beans)

Dried beans are inexpensive and easy to cook. Many people see the soaking and sometimes 2 day process, as a hassle. I don't blame them. This weekend I wanted to cook some pinto beans I had for a taco dinner. I didn't plan ahead, so I decided to try the quick soak method I had read about. It worked great. It's still requires a few hours of cooking but no special equipment.

Ingredients
2.5 cups dried beans
8 cups of water (final cook)
1 onion or 2-3 Mexican onions chopped
2-4 garlic cloves (whole)
1 dried chili pepper (optional)
Mexican onions. These are sold seasonally in many grocery stores as "spring onions". I can buy these year round in Mexican grocery stores.

I used about 6 of these little Tepin chiles 



Power soak
1. Wash the beans and remove any small stones.
2. Place beans in a pot and fill with water about 2-3 inches above the beans.
3. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 3 minutes.
4. Turn off heat, cover with a lid and let sit undisturbed​ for 1 hour.

Meanwhile
1. Coarsely chop onion.
2. Preheat large Dutch oven or cast iron bean pot on medium heat.
3. Add onions and dry saute covering with lid in between stirring. This traps the steam that the onions will give off and reduce the need to add water, oil, or broth. You want the onions to develop some color and char a bit,  so don't freak out if they start to stick and caramelize. If they are sticking too much, try adding a splash of broth or water.
4. Set pot aside once onions are properly browned.

Put it all together
1. Once the beans have soaked for an hour, pour off the water and rinse beans in a colander.
2. Add them to pot with the onions and garlic. Cover with 8 cups of water.
3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Partially cover with lid and cook for about 2 hours or until tender. When properly done, there should be no chalkiness to the bean when cut in half.
4. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Enjoy in fresh corn tortillas with salsa and other toppings or just by themselves!

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