Big Pot of Beans

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  • 2 cups dried beans of your choice
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Rinse beans and remove any rocks or residue. Combine with 8 cups water in a large pot. Let stand at least 6 hours, or overnight. Drain beans and rinse.

Place soaked beans and 5 cups water in a large pot. Simmer beans gently, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Some variations on the basic recipe:

Power Beans: Cook a 4- to 5-inch piece dried kombu in with the beans. When the beans are done, cut the kombu into thin strips and stir it back into the beans.

Beans with Aromatic Vegetables: Add about 1 1/2 cups total chopped fresh vegetables, such as onions, carrots, celery or fennel in any combination.

Cuban Black Beans: Add 1 chopped onions, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and 4 cloves chopped garlic to black beans in the original recipe. Sprinkle with lime juice after cooking.

Southern-style Beans: Use navy beans or black-eyed peas. Add 1 smoked turkey leg, 1 cup chopped onions and 1 small can chopped tomatoes. Shred the turkey meat after the beans are cooked and add it back to the pot.

Beans and Greens: Fold 4 cups chopped leafy greens into the beans in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Season with a little balsamic vinegar.

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