Simply cooked with onions, garlic and herbs, these beans are flavorful and delicious enough to be served on their own as a vegetarian main course, or with other ingredients added in, and of course they are a great addition themselves to frittatas, stews, and even pasta!
For the Freezer Stash: I plan to cook at least 2 lbs of each kind of bean, and increase the amount of aromatics accordingly.
1 lb dried beans, any kind, soaked overnight or by the Quick-Soak Method
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

After cooking:
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
Place the soaked beans in your crockpot, cover with water and any or all of the aromatics. Cooking time can vary widely depending on the size and age of the beans, but as a starting point, plan to cook on Low for 4-6 hours, or High for 2-4 hours. At the end of your initial cooking time, start testing the beans to see how tender they are, and continue checking every so often until the beans are done. They should be tender but not falling apart.

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.
If you're planning to dress the beans with one of the options below, you might want to make a simple bean sauce to hold it together a bit more. Remove 1/2--3/4 cup cooked beans and add about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Crush the beans gently with a fork, and add more reserved liquid if you'd like, to reach your desired consistency. Or, don't mash the beans at all and simply add 1/2 cup or more of the reserved liquid.

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.
Serves 6-8
 





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