These pantry staples are versatile, healthful, and delicious. Count on them for simple, satisfying meals.
Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2011
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes (or overnight)
Yield Makes 6 cups
1 pound dried beans, such as kidney, cannellini, navy, pinto, or black
8 to 10 cups water, plus more for soaking
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh chile, chopped
Optional flavor add-ins (see below)
Make the beans: Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water by several inches. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Drain. (For a quick soak, cover beans in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain.)
Make the flavor base: Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, chile, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and any add-ins until onion and garlic are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add beans, 8 cups water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, adding water as needed to keep submerged, until tender, 35 minutes to 2 hours, depending on type of bean. (Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes.)
Stir a few tablespoons of any of these into the flavor base: bell peppers, sausage, bacon, tomatoes. Or season with herbs and spices (cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf).