We love slow cookers, but sometimes they they can be a little too slow (or we can be a little too late!) Yesterday, for example, I was presenting “How Can You Tell If You’re Eating Well.” It’s a fun talk about “eating close to the earth” and how that simple approach makes it easy to know if you’re eating well.
Anyway, at the end of the talk I planned to demo a fast, “eating close to the earth” dish using slow cooker black beans. But while fixing my morning cup of tea, I realized that I’d forgotten to soak the beans the night before, so they could slow cook all day, and be done just in time for my evening class. As I poured the water over my Earl Grey leaves, I watched my carefully laid plans collapse. What do I do now?
Innovate. Fortunately, a bolt of inspiration struck and left behind a formula for “Accelerated Slow Cooker Beans:”
8:48 a.m. Put quart of water on to boil on biggest burner on highest heat (with the lid on because that makes it boil faster, too)
8:49 a.m. Measure out 1 1/2 cups black beans, pour on a plate and pick out dirt clods and bad beans (my beans come straight from a local farm, so they take a couple extra prep minutes, but the taste is well worth it.)
8:52 a.m. Pour cleaned beans in slow cooker. Water is now boiling so pour it in. Cover and turn to high heat.
1:00 p.m. Beans have already begun to soften, the same as if they had soaked all night, so I drain them, return them to pot and put another quart of water on to boil.
1:05 p.m. Second round of water is boiling. Pour over drained beans in slow cooker, cover and return heat to high.
5:00 p.m. Return from appointment to find that beans are perfectly cooked–just a little on the soft side, how I love them.
Moral of the Story: “Slow” cooker beans are possible in just 8 hours instead of 24.
Add salt at the end and that easily (and cheaply) you’ve got a dish fit for a healthy-eating king.
I’m always amazed at how good beans taste when cooked from scratch in a slow cooker. Canned beans are perfectly fine, but I’m always nagging people to experiment with fresh-cooked–just once (’cause you’ll be hooked). Experiment with this accelerated method or, if your brain works at night use the more leisurely method and put the beans on to soak the night before. You can read more about the leisurely method in a previous post: “How to Cook Dried Beans?“