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How to Make Better Beans

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How to Make Better Beans

There are many debates about the best way to cook beans.  Should I soak the beans first? When should I season the beans?  Should I drain the gravy - that is the seasoned cooking liquid? There are a lot of sources out there that will tell you many different things about the beans.  

The Soak

People have varying opinions on this topic.  The answer can vary depending on the bean used. However, if you are using a pressure cooker this isn’t a factor. Personally, I find that soaking the beans gives the beans a smoother texture and will generally decrease the cooking time.  Some sources say that soaking before cooking will reduce the gas factor, but this hasn’t been proven conclusively. The best way to reduce the gas effect of beans is to eat more fiber; the more you eat fiber regularly, the less gas is an issue.

The Salt

Salting the beans at the end of cooking is a tradition that is as old as...well maybe as old as tamales! Although there are some who will tell you that it is better to salt early, I like to stick to tradition. Salting the beans at the end of the process allows you to better judge the overall saltiness of the beans and allows adjustment if you are pairing with a dish that is naturally more salty.  I also find that salting later gives the beans a little bit of an al dente bite to the skin but makes the flesh softer.

The Sauce
There are many reasons to add your seasonings near the end of the cooking process.  The first of which is the acid. If you increase the acidity of the cooking liquid too early the beans will take much longer to cook fully.  No one wants their beans 45 minutes after the meal! Beyond that, my favorite part of beans is the gravy; the flavorful sauce that is created from the seasonings, beans and cooking water.  By adding the seasonings and salt at the end of the process you get a flavorful, almost creamy gravy. Add them too early and you wind up with a pasty sauce that isn’t nearly as nice.

Follow these tips and use our black bean seasoning to get better beans every time!

Tucson Tamale Black Bean Recipe
Tucson Tamale Black Bean seasoning is a bit zippy, so you can add less of the seasoning for a tasty but not so spicy bean.  Or if you like it on the wild side, go crazy hot and add more! The choice is yours, but either way the amount of salt and pepper should remain the same.

Using Dry Beans:

  • 1 lb of dried black beans – Cook according to package instructions, but only add the water. If the package calls for any spices or seasonings, do not add them now; they will be introduced at the end of the cooking cycle. Do not drain.

When Beans are almost done stir-in:

  • 4 Tbsp Tucson Tamale Black Bean Seasoning (one-half package)
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Kosher salt (if you use table salt, only use 1 Tbsp)

Cook for 5 more minutes until beans are done.


1 Response

Dale FanterDalefanter
Dale FanterDalefanter

April 27, 2018

While living in Tucson, I discovered Tucson Tamales, had an order sent to my Chicago daughter who was eating tamales at a local restaurant.
We immediately started a contest to identify our favorite – and, of course, Tucson Tamale Won, with no no serious challenge from Chicago.
Now I ship Tucson to her every month.

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