I am officially back to work for the school year, which means it’s back to meal planning. I let planning kind of go to the wayside this summer. It was all about road trips and meals with friends and eating Everything Pretzel Crisps & hummus for dinner at 9pm.
Oh, those summer nights.
But, now I’m in planning mode, which involves thinking ahead. Fortunately, thinking ahead also tends to result in saving money, which is one of the benefits of this recipe.
Dried beans are cheap. And, I’m not gonna lie, it kind of makes me feel domestically old fashioned making things from scratch instead of just reaching for a can.
Also, there’s way less sodium. Double score. Triple score?
I’m losing count.
So, pour your beans into a big ol’ bowl, cover them with water, and soak ’em (“Soak ’em for Crutchie!” Name that movie. It’s one of my sister and my favorites!) overnight.
Drain and rinse the beans. Don’t be alarmed. The water will be dark purple.
I was actually quite pleased. More foods should be purple. I think I’ll start calling these “purple beans” from now on. It makes them sound more like magical unicorn food.
Pour your purple beans into your slow cooker. My slow cooker is 7 quarts and it was just about the perfect size.
Add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the beans with about 2 inches of water. If I have any extra chicken broth in my fridge, I use that in lieu of some of the water for extra flavor. (Unicorns love chicken broth. I’m sure of it.)
Set your slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours and…voila! Purple beans! That aren’t so purple anymore. I guess I’ll revert back to calling them black beans. Or “dark brown beans” may be more accurate.
Oh well. Unicorn land was fun while it lasted. I will warn you that the beans dye the onions. You can always remove the onions with the bay leaves before you drain the beans if you so choose, but I never do.
This makes about 12 cups of black beans. I package the beans in freezer bags, putting 1 1/2 cups in each one, which is about how much is in a 15oz can. Freezing them makes them easy to grab and throw into a recipe. If I’m thinking ahead, I’ll thaw them slowly in the fridge, but putting them in a strainer and running them under hot water thaws them really quickly.
They taste better than canned beans, they’re healthier, and they’re cheaper.
I’m off to find a unicorn.
I think I’ll name him Herbert.
- 2 lbs dried black beans
- ~10 cups water for soaking
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tsp minced garlic
- 1 large onion, diced
- ~12 c. water for cooking
- In a large bowl, cover black beans with about 10 cups of water. Soak overnight.
- Drain and rinse the beans and pour them into slow cooker.
- Add bay leaves, garlic, and onion.
- Add enough water so that it covers the beans by about 2 inches, about 12 cups.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove bay leaves and drain.