Food & Drink

I Need the Best Way to Cook Beans

ON THIS WEEK’S episode of Dinner SOS, test kitchen director and host Chris Morocco is joined by Justine Doiron (also known as Justine Snacks), a Brooklyn-based cook and soon-to-be cookbook author, to help Teddy fall in love with cooking beans from scratch.

Teddy is a vegan who is well-versed in using chickpeas and lentils yet has never known the best way to add beans to her cooking repertoire. She has questions like whether to use canned versus dried and the best approaches to using either one to build complete meals. Chris calls in Justine Doiron to help brainstorm recipes for Teddy that feature the humble legume. Justine suggests Teddy start with dried beans to have total control over creating the best flavor and texture. The first step is to soak them for 12 hours, then cook them in a big pot with ample water—plus Chris suggests that Teddy can add in aromatics, chiles, and seasonings to build big flavor.

Once the beans are done cooking, Justine warns against throwing out the liquid, which functions like an exceptionally rich vegetable broth. You can also simmer vegetables or smaller pasta like orzo right in with the beans or finish with cheese. When starting out with a can of beans, Chris and Justine advise planning to be aggressive with salt and seasonings since canned beans often need lots of both to amp up their neutral flavor.

Justine and Chris suggest starting with recipes that build off a brothy, liquid-heavy base—like this very basic one for Brothy Beans (to which they suggest adding in pasta, grains, or a hearty vegetable like kale) or this one for Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole. If Teddy is feeling adventurous, Justine throws in her idea for Breaded Beans, drained and rinsed beans that are tossed in a dredge and baked to get a crispy bean that’s on the snackier side. Chris also suggests this recipe for Charred Cabbage with Kimchi Dressing, which features crispy cabbage, creamy tahini, and starchy white beans.

Listen now to hear if Justine and Chris are able to convince Teddy to become a bean convert.

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