- Course: Side Dish
- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 2 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
Cooking your own dried beans is absolutely the cheapest way to serve them. A 1-pound bag of beans generally costs less than $1. That one bag yields more than 6 cups of beans and broth. A can of beans, at the same price, yields only 1 cup. It doesn’t take a genius to do the math.
Dried beans must be soaked before cooking, and we’ve given instructions for a quick 1-hour soak in addition to the traditional overnight method.
1. Pour the beans into a colander and pick over them to remove any debris. While you rinse the beans under cool water, run your fingers through them to find and rinse away any clumps of dirt.
2. For a quick soak: Place the beans in a 4½-quart Dutch oven or soup pot and add water to cover. Place the pot over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Then remove the pot from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour.
For an overnight soak: Place the beans in 4½-quart Dutch oven or soup pot. Cover the beans with water and cover the pot. Let the beans soak for 12 hours.
3. Drain the beans, discarding the soaking water. Return the beans to the pot and add 6 cups water, the salt, and the ham (if using). Place the pot over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the beans until they reach the desired tenderness, 1½ to 2½ hours. Add more water if necessary to keep the beans covered during the cooking time.
4. Remove the beans from the heat and set them aside to cool or to use in a recipe. Discard the ham pieces. The beans can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen in 1-cup batches for up to 1 month.
Nutritional information is based on 12 servings, but does not include optional ham pieces.