I'm dumb. How many cups of beans?
November 13, 2013 5:21 PM   Subscribe

The recipe says "2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight". Does it mean 2 cups of the beans after soaking, or before soaking?

I scooped two cups of dried bans and soaked them overnight. It seems like more beans than the recipe really needs. The soaked beans measure 5.5 cups.

So which is it? Here's the recipe in question.
posted by under_petticoat_rule to Food & Drink (13 answers total)
Before soaking.
posted by Snazzy67 at 5:25 PM on November 13, 2013 [8 favorites]

Start with 2 cups of dry beans. And use the whole amount for your recipe.
posted by lulu68 at 5:25 PM on November 13, 2013

I would interpret that the same way you did. But if it seems like more than the recipe needs, then I would just add as many of the soaked beans as I was comfortable with and make a note to myself for next time I made the recipe.
posted by bibbit at 5:26 PM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't think you're dumb, I think the recipe is screwy.

According to the directions, I'd say 2 c before soaking, but looking at the proportions in the recipe, two cups of dried beans is way too much.
posted by BrashTech at 5:26 PM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Before, and what bibbit said.

You're not dumb. Recipes just aren't always perfect!
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:26 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Agreed that 2 cups applies to the dried beans. I've made a similar soup. It uses lots of beans, but perhaps not 5.5 cups.
posted by *s at 5:31 PM on November 13, 2013

Two cups dry, so before you soak them. You can't measure out two cups soaked before they've soaked, so the recipe would force you to waste beans or have not enough beans! :)
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:35 PM on November 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

The reviews are very hot/cold, and one of the positive ones notes that they used canned beans instead of dried soaked ones, so I would bet that while your reading is clearly the technically right one, the soup would be better with 2 cups after soaking...
posted by mdn at 5:47 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Two cups dry beans. It may seem like a lot, but if this is the first time you've made this recipe, use exactly that, two cups of dry beans. You can always vary the amounts of things for the NEXT time you make it.
posted by easily confused at 5:53 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another vote for 2 cups of dry beans, but having a look at the recipe, I disagree with people saying that this may provide too many beans. Most of the beans are pureed and only 3/4 of a cup are reserved to back in whole. You will end up with a somewhat thickened soup as a result.
posted by ninazer0 at 5:59 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the advice everyone.

Not to chatfilter this, but I decided the recipe was wrong, and meant 2 cups of post-soaked beans.

Flag 1:
I put the designated ingredients in the 3 quart saucepan, using 2 cups of the soaked beans. If I put the rest of the beans in it would have overflowed.

Flag 2:
Looking at the photo with the recipe, the liquid doesn't look as opaque and beige as I think it would with all the beans pureed in there.

Flag 3:
The recipe says it serves 4 - 5, so at the max servings everyone would get nearly a cup of beans in their serving. That just seems high to me.

Flag 4:
A comment on the recipe says the soup was more beige and opaque than they expected, which would result from using too may beans.

I'm going with 2 cups of the beans after soaking as my premise, but I'm cooking the rest of the beans in parallel so if I need more pureed beans at the end I can whip them up and add them in.

Bah! I've been burned too many times by strictly following flawed recipes I find on the Internet! Grumble...
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 6:12 PM on November 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

You're right of course, and this recipe's author tricked you by writing it backward. On the other hand what would you have done if the instruction had been "soak enough dried beans to yield two cups after soaking." How much is that?

Anyway. That's what you get when people try to write up their take-this-take-that type of what's-in-the-fridge recipes in an quote unquote exact way, and try to wing it by memory. Your giveaway here is in fact the mismatch between the amount of oil and beans. Far too little oil (also, your flag 1. What a joke to even indicate the size of the saucepan).

However. If you anyway soak and cook dried beans, why not cook a whole lot of them and use the rest for something else, or freeze them for the next time you're having this soup? I usually soak a whole package of them when I'm bothering with them anyway...
posted by Namlit at 12:07 AM on November 14, 2013

There's nothing confusing about these instructions, the author asks you to soak 2 cups of dry cannellini beans.

If they wanted you to use 2 cups of cooked beans they would have said something like, "soak enough beans to yield 2 cups." Or asked for "1 14oz tin cannellini beans." It might seem like a lot of beans, but it really isn't especially for a tuscan bean soup. Honest.

I've been burned by bad recipes too, most of the time I listen to my gut especially when it comes to spices, but for stuff like beans? I make the required amount and make a final judgement along the way; sometimes I look for similar recipes for comparison when I'm doubtful.
posted by redindiaink at 6:34 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

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