One of my resolutions for 2010 was to master the art of cooking with dried beans. After much experimentation, I'm not sure if I've mastered it, but I'm definitely more comfortable with the process. Granted, I still keep many a can of prepared beans in my pantry for emergencies, but I think the dried bean and I are now friends, too.
Here's my favorite way to prepare dry beans. Put them in a pot covered with water. Bring them to a boil. Turn off the heat and leave them tightly covered to sit for one hour. This is the quick method and I've found it very useful for slow cooker recipes.
This Black Bean Soup is one of my favorites. It's healthy (until you add cheese, sour cream, and tortilla strips), full of wonderful flavor, and cooks up in a jiffy!
I'd post a photo for it, but it isn't the prettiest dish and I can't seem to do it justice with my camera. JUST TRUST ME!
Black Bean Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ground cumin
¼-1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 T vegetable oil
3-16 oz cans black beans, undrained
½ cup chicken broth
3 cups salsa
2 T lime juice
Cook onion, garlic, cumin, and red pepper in olive oil. Blend to puree 2 cans of beans with liquid and broth. Add to pot. Stir in last can of beans, salsa, and lime juice. Serve over rice with sour cream and cheese.