Enough water to cover the beans in your crockpot
Any or all of the following aromatics (I use as many as I have on hand, and the more garlic, the better!):
1 small onion, quartered; or 1/4 cup onion flakes
1 garlic clove or more, crushed; or 1 tsp garlic powder or more
4-5 fresh sage leaves; or 1 tsp dried sage powder
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
1 small dried hot red chili; or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black or white pepper to taste
1 tbsp minced Italian parsley; or 1 tbsp dried parsley
When the beans are done, drain the cooking water into a large heat-proof bowl and reserve for later. Discard the aromatics. I usually leave some of the onions in the beans, because they're well-cooked by this point and starting to disintegrate -- a little more flavor for the dishes I use the beans in, I figure!
For the Freezer Stash:
Drain the beans and let cool completely, then place in labeled freezer containers or storage bags.
After the beans are cooked, and while still hot, add just enough olive oil to lightly coat the beans and stir gently. Then, use any of the following combinations as a dressing, or create your own combination:
- 1 or more garlic cloves, minced; 6 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/4 raw red or yellow onion; 1 small green chili; both finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice; 1/2 tsp ground cumin; 1 fresh hot red chili, finely chopped or a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup finely minced fresh green herbs: basil, dill, fennel tops, chervil, sage, lovage, borage, or any others you enjoy
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or wine vinegar; 12 pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 6-oz good-quality canned tuna, flaked; 1 tbsp capers
- 3-4 medium shrimp per serving, peeled, sauteed and seasoned with salt, pepper and a green herb of your choice (see above)
- Large spoonful of Beluga caviar
After adding your dressing of choice, add salt and black or white pepper to taste, then sprinkle with minced fresh or dried parsley.