Do you think “exotic” or “romantic” when you think of beans? Probably not. They’ll always be considered peasant fare. But when dried beans are left to stew and simmer in aromatics like onion, garlic, bacon and the like, they’re transformed into something rich, yummy and more luxurious than simple legumes.
Soaking is a Snap
Dried beans need to be soaked before cooking. You can do a quick soak or an overnight soak.
Overnight-soak: Rinse and check beans. Remove any discolored or broken beans. Place in large bowl with cold water and let stand overnight. Use 6 cups of water for 1 pound of beans. Drain.
Quick-soak: Rinse and check beans. Remove any discolored or broken beans. Place in large pot with 6 cups cold water. Cover, bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Drain.