A bean dish doesn’t sound like a glamorous choice, but in reality well-made beans have the potential to wow. Fabián von Hauske Valtierra, one of the chefs behind NYC Michelin-starred restaurant Contra, is ready to set home cooks straight on the power of a well-made bean dish.
Before we cover the tips, we need to address how canned beans give all beans a bad rap. Chef Fabián explains: “People are used to beans from a can, but if you cook good dry beans … the texture’s always going to be so different from a can.”
With that in mind, choose the dry deans of your choice and follow these tips:
Soak before cooking
Soak your dry beans overnight with double the amount of water (by volume) to enhance flavor, improve texture, and speed up cooking.
Cook over medium heat and don’t overcook. “A good bean is going to have a fine line of when it’s overcooked because a really good bean has a nice thin skin… if you see anything in your water that’s murky, that’s probably because they’re breaking open,” Fabián says.
Cook time will depend on the bean, but stay vigilant because beans can overcook in a matter of 45 seconds. Fabián recommends cooking until they’re 3/4ths of the way done because they’ll continue cooking after you pull them off of the heat.
The beans are cooked with an assortment of aromatics and seasoned with herbs and salt in the Made In x Contra bean dish, but you can season your beans however you’d like! “Beans soak up what they’re cooked with … they kinda match well with almost anything but something really salty is a great match,” says Fabián.