Beans Can Be Delectable When Done Right

Cassoulet French Bean Dish

Beans are one of the more difficult-to-figure-out foods in the healthful category.  Americans seldom add beans to their diet unless they are eating chili, Mexican food, hummus, or bean soup.  Even then, hummus is a mystery, an exotic dish they've maybe heard of but never seen.  But beans are an amazing food, packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals, they can help complete nutritional profiles and shore up deficiencies with ease.

There are few obvious ways to put them into a cooking repertoire, particularly for the beginner.  Beans can be flavorless and tough, and altogether unappealing if they are cooked wrong.  Beans from a can have their uses, but dried beans actually result in the most wonderful textures, where canned beans aren't known for their ability to be improved.

The main trick to excellent beans is easy.  Rinse dried beans well, pick out the bad ones and the stones, and brine them overnight in a mixture of a gallon of water and 3 tablespoons of salt.  This softens them by taking the magnesium and calcium ions that are bound into the tough skins and replacing them with the sodium of the salt, rendering them softer.  They are then drained, and added into dishes as usual.

One of the more wonderful dishes is known as cassoulet.  Cassoulet is a famous French bean dish that at its core was once peasant food.  While high-end restaurants make it with pricey ingredients such as duck confit, the truth is, this is a simple dish that can be made with chicken, a bit of salt pork, and a garlic-y sausage or two.  It is rich with meaty flavor because of the rich stock that forms, and the bean proteins, but the addition of a few packages of bloomed plain gelatin can make this dish shine.  Seek out simple recipes for cassoulet and bean skill will soon follow.


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