Impatient black bean lover
June 28, 2010 12:43 PM   Subscribe

I'd planned to make some black bean soup in my slow cooker tonight - bought the dried black beans and then realized, the recipe calls for them to soak overnight first. Any chance I can skip this step or do something else (quicker) instead? Or do I just have to wait and make it tomorrow? I'm a cooking novice!
posted by little_c to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I just tried this 90-minute no-soak oven-cooked technique (which I learned via a MetaChat thread) with white beans, and it worked nicely. Be sure to test the beans early and often; I let mine go the entire 90 minutes, and they were a bit too soft.
posted by Elsa at 12:46 PM on June 28, 2010

Black beans are particularly tough. The most common way to get them quicker than 8 hours (or so) is via pressure cooker, really. This thread has miscellaneous advice on the topic.
posted by mykescipark at 12:48 PM on June 28, 2010

Lots of information here. In particular, there's a section with some ways to drastically reduce the soaking time.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:48 PM on June 28, 2010

Are the beans cooked at all before they go into the slow cooker? If yes, I'd just grab some canned black beans on your way home and use those instead.

You can use this quick soak method but it's still going to take forever if you're planning on eating this soup tonight.
posted by something something at 12:49 PM on June 28, 2010

Oh, also: I've had success doing a stovetop quick-soak with black beans. You'll find various instructions online and in cookbooks, but the basic method is always more or less the same.

Cover the beans with three inches cold water, bring to a boil in a large uncovered pot. Boil two minutes, and let sit an hour. Pour off the soaking liquid (or not; it is full of nutrients but also promotes flatulence in some people) and cover with fresh water; cook until soft. This second cooking depends upon the age of your beans.

If you do a search for black beans quick soak, you'll find more specific instructions, but just mentioning this option in case you didn't know it existed.
posted by Elsa at 12:52 PM on June 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everybody! Not intending to eat it tonight, it's for tomorrow and the rest of the week. I'll try one of these quick soak methods when I get home.
posted by little_c at 12:57 PM on June 28, 2010

If going back to the store is an option, pick up some canned black beans instead for tonights meal and use the dry beans for another occasion.
posted by dismitree at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've found that quick-soak methods are a gamble. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, depending on the batch of beans you have. Since you're not eating the soup tonight, though, you can afford to gamble. You can always increase the cooking time if the quick soak doesn't do the trick.
posted by spinto at 1:01 PM on June 28, 2010

You don't have to soak or even quick soak beans. I never do. Just cook them longer. Your existing slow cooker recipe will probaly work fine.
posted by chrchr at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding chrchr, I never used to soak beans when cooking them at a restaurant, they'd just slow cook for a few hours while I was doing other things, never had a problem with it.
posted by Jawn at 4:40 PM on June 28, 2010

I never soak beans (except for garbanzos) and cook them overnight on low in a slow cooker. By morning they're perfect and ready to eat. I also put them in the slow cooker before leaving for work and come dinner time they're ready (again, without soaking). The quickest stovetop method for me is to bring the beans to a full boil and then cover and simmer until tender, usually a hour and a half or so.
posted by Allee Katze at 5:45 PM on June 28, 2010

Yeah, you don't need to soak them. In some cases it results in better adhesion of the skin/shell and generally will make any bean cook faster ... but I only soak for things like garbanzos, dried favas or dried large lima beans where the skins may come off unpleasantly or they take a really long time to cook. Black beans I never soak except accidentally when I put them in water and then forget to turn on the burner. :)
posted by R343L at 7:06 PM on June 28, 2010

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