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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cooking Black Turtle Beans: Kick the Canned Beans

There is absolutely no competition: cooking your own beans is way better than buying canned beans. You can't argue with me on this, my friend. You will lose. And do you want to know how? As soon as you have a taste of this recipe. Not only are canned beans filled with sodium, but they aren't nearly as delicious as cooking your own pot of beans (they also aren't made with love, which is very important). As a Latina, nothing feels like home more than the smell of cooking beans and the warmth it brings. As a lazy college student I can understand the convenience of canned beans, however, this recipe is so ridiculously easy that if I am willing to do it, you certainly can. (recipe inspired by serious eats' version)

All you need are are 5 ingredients:

-1 pound of black turtle beans *
-8 cloves of garlic
-1/2 of a large purple onion (technically a little more than half, but I'll explain that)
-1 tsp of fine Himalayan pink salt (it's my favorite salt)
-A whole lot of love! (again, very important) 

*Note: Now, probably about 90% of recipes you'll read about cooking beans, requires you to soak them overnight. I personally, don't do that. From my research it doesn't help as much with digestion as we think it does and it also sacrifices the flavor and texture. There's an awesome article written about it by the LA Times here and also Mama Silvia (aka my mama) never soaked her beans (and those are best beans in the world). If you do decide to soak them, just take into consideration that your cooking time will be a lowered a little. 

Cooking Procedure

First you're going to need to pick out any debris like stones or twigs (which I've never come across from the beans at our shop, but you can never be too careful), broken beans and tiny wrinkled beans. I just pour them into a bowl, grab them by the handful, pick out the ugly stuff and then put the rest in a colander. Once you've got all your beans in the colander, rinse them thoroughly and put them put them into a large pot.

Pick out 8 cloves of medium sized garlic and smash them hard to remove the peel and so that their flavor can infuse into the beans much better. It's a great way to relieve aggression too (Sara smash)! Next, take your purple onion and cut it so that you have the whole root part intact (as show in the picture below). This is also what I meant by it being a little over half of the onion. 

Now, add enough water to the point where there's about 4 inches covering them, then add your onions and garlic. Cover your beans and place it on high heat until it starts to boil. Then, uncover the pot and reduce it to medium heat.

Stir occasionally and add water whenever the beans are starting to become exposed (this is where the love comes in). I only needed to add about a cup of water a few of times (it started at the 1½ hour mark). Cook until the beans are tender (it took me a little under 2 ½ hours).

Once tender, add your salt and turn up the heat to a boil to cook the beans for an additional 15-20 minutes. This will make a beautifully thick sauce your beans will bathe in!

Freeze whatever you don't think you'll eat right away, so you can enjoy homemade beans whenever you want. My favorite lazy dinner: a bowl of heated up beans and rice with freshly sliced avocado and tomato. Enjoy folks!

Sara is currently studying romance languages at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a student and a team member of Bazaar Spices, she is able to fuel her interest in understanding different cultures. For Sara, understanding different cultures is key to connecting with people, and there is nothing more gratifying to her than that.  

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