Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why bother with a sous vide for beans?

So, I’ve done a little reading on the sous-vide bean thing, and much of the writing says that there is no real advantage to cooking beans in a sous vide.  My experience says otherwise.  The texture may not change particularly, but there are a few distinct advantages.

1) The amount of liquid the beans are cooked in is reduced a bit, and the amount of time the beans soak is increased a bit, so you can flavor the beans more than in the stove top method – by making very flavorful baths for the beans.

2) By placing multiple canning jars of different beans you can cook several varieties of dried beans all at the same time – even if their cooking times are different.

2a) The canning jar method lets you check on the progress of your beans – and you never need to worry about opening a bag and finding under (or over) done beans.

3) No scorching or boiling over worries – ever.

Sous Vide Beans
Not as fast as a pressure cooker, but another way to cook beans that requires very little attention from the cook.  And this way you can cook beans with different cooking times – all at once.

sous vide – or other water oven
2C or 1Q canning jar for each sort of bean
rings and lids for each jar (need not be “new,” just clean)
jar lifter or waterproof hot pad/oven mitt makes things easier.
bean of choice
flavorings of choice
(see below for suggestions)

For 2C Jar
     0.5 C beans - your choice
     1.5 C water
     aromatics and/or herbs

For 1Q jar
     1C beans - your choice
     3C water
     aromatics and/or herbs

For making chili - I used 1 clove garlic, 1 bay leaf, and part of a dried ancho chile in each jar.

1 clove of garlic is likely ALWAYS a good idea, and then add spices as they appear in the dish your beans are destined for.


Set your sous vide to 195˚F.
Bean times:
lentils .75 - 1 hr
black beans 3.5 - 4.5 hrs
cranberry beans/navy/Yankee beans 3-4 hrs 
garbanzo/chick peas/ceci beans 5-6 hrs
great northern/kidney/cannellini beans 3.5 - 4.5 hrs
pinto beans 4-5 hrs

Check them at the early end - because you can!

Drain them when they are done - and forward with your recipes.  

Well – now I have a bunch of cooked beans.  Now what do I do?

1. Make chili.  (Yes I know, for many chili has NO beans.  But mine does.)

2.  Make soup

3. Make bean salad

4. Garbanzo bean special :
Make hummus – and if you make it with the hot beans, it becomes especially creamy.

Make Falafel.  How... well, look it up!
(OK... I may get there, but not this week)

Think that worked well?  Check out Yogurt and Caramelized Onions

Happy cold weather cooking!


lemonjelly said...

Hey Greta, I'm going to make a plug for the best bestest ever beans you could ever buy, and hope that you already buy from them, but if you don't, it's Rancho Gordo ( They source heirloom beans, trade fairly, and all their beans are the best I've ever had short of the few I've grown myself. Most mind boggling: the cannellini beans.

Greta said...

Thanks!!! I will check them out. Exciting to try some new goodies.

Cloistervoices said...

Do you submerge the jars all the way under water? After they are cooked, how long will they keep in the fridge or freezer? I'm assuming that since they aren't processed at 212F, they wouldn't be room temperature shelf stable. Right?
Thanks for such a detailed time listing for the different kind of beans. That is EXACTLY what I was looking for.

SABAZIUX said...

Hello, thanks for the recipe and tips...after lomg does this beans last in the fridge /or freezer? Thanks!