Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cooking Black Beans and Rice, winning combination

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Both black beans and rice are easily found and cooked in bulk.  They are healthy and tasty, freeze well, and are easy to cook.  During times of heavy training, I find I perform best when getting a steady flow of black beans and rice.

Crock pot cooking is a wonderful thing.  I have this one.  It is my preferred method of cooking black beans.  I set it for six hours and it more or less takes care of itself.  It is the perfect option for those of you who squeeze all of your household chores into one day because you can start the beans in the morning and do all of your other chores while they cook.  Invest in some freezer and microwave safe food containers.  I'm going to give only the basic "water and salt" recipes because you don't need anything else.  You can add whatever spices or flavors you like.

How to cook black beans:

There are three steps to cooking beans: sorting, soaking, and cooking.

Sorting.  Pour the beans bit at a time onto a clean counter or flat container.  Sort through them for rocks or other things that don't belong there.  You can also pick out the bad-looking beans.

Soaking.  Pour the sorted beans into a large bowl (the beans will expand a lot) and fill it with enough hot water to cover the beans.  Make sure the bowl you use is not stainable because anything you use to soak the beans in will be a bluish purple color probably forever.  Let the beans soak in hot water for about 10-15 minutes and then drain the water.  Repeat twice.  Cold water is fine if you plan to soak them overnight.

Cooking.  Pour the drained beans into the crock pot and fill it with water up to about an inch over the beans.  Throw in a little salt and mix gently.  Set the timer to six hours on high.  You may have to add some water again about half way through.  The beans should be soft when they're ready.  You should be able to squish one between the tip of your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Awesome Tip:  Beans get you gassy?  There are three reasons why this would happen.  1. You didn't soak them long enough.  2. You didn't cook them long enough.  3.  You're simply not used to eating them.  Tough it out for a week.

How to cook rice.

Check the package to see if it should be rinsed.  Some should and some shouldn't.  Pour the rice into an appropriate saucepan or pot, assuming that the rice will double in size at least.  Pour the water twice as high as the rice.  Less water and the rice will be dry.  More water and the rice will be sticky.  Add a little salt.  Boil on medium to low for about twenty minutes or a little more, covered.  The rice is ready when there is no water left in the bottom of the pot and the rice is at the appropriate texture.  Just use a spatula to part the rice.  Some people like to fluff the rice once it's just about ready.  It's up to you.

Awesome Tip:  Do not *completely* cover the rice.  Always leave the lid a little skewed so some steam can escape.  If you don't, the pressure will build up and the water will boil over the side of the pot and all over your stove, leaving you a hot, starchy mess.  If you notice it starting to bubble over, remove the lid immediately and replace it a little more skewed.  Turn the fire down slightly if need be.

There is no reason to cook every day. A crock pot of black beans should last the whole week for a couple even if you eat them every day and you eat a lot. Cook rice in large amounts. Use medium containers for freezing to ensure they never go spoiled. One goes in the fridge and the rest go in the freezer. When the one in the fridge is getting low, pull one from the freezer and put it in the fridge. It should be thawed out by the time you need it.

Important:  Do not ruin your cookware with metal utensils or scouring pads.  Plastic and wood work just fine.

1 comment:

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