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Can somebody please explain dried beans/lentils/split peas to me?

(15 Posts)
Scoobi6 Wed 12-Sep-07 08:44:06

I've bought packets of each in a fit of health- and thriftiness, but I have no idea how to cook them. Do they all need soaking overnight, and why? Can I just bung them in the slow cooker without soaking? How long do they take to cook, in slow cooker or oven or on the hob?

NotQuiteCockney Wed 12-Sep-07 08:45:52

Lentils are the easiest, no soaking required, and they take about 30 minutes.

The others can take hours, depends on the type. And they do need soaking overnight, or they need to be cooked for longer, with skimming, or changing the water or something.

PrincessGoodLife Wed 12-Sep-07 08:55:04

as per NQCockney - lentils = easy

dried beans will take the longest to soak (they are the biggest). Having dry food involves thinking the night before what you want to cook the next day... so usually I only cook like that on weekends when I am at home to potter grin.

Check the water at least once when you're soaking dry food as they absorb it. You may need to top up.

Beans - you'll usually find that they'll be cooked after an hour or gentle stewing (with other ingredients).

Peas - once they're rehydrated (by soaking) they won't take long to cook. It depends how you like them - firm or mushy.

Once you make your own baked beans you won't go back to tinned (unless you're in a big rush of course!). And it is very easy to make on the stove.

Oh, and one more thing. Just in case. If you are a gardener and grow runner beans or any other beans, you can also dry those beans for long term use. It's very easy and means you don't have to give away ALL your excess beans. Same applies to lentils AND peas. Sorry if I am stating the obvious but found a keen gardener the other day that didn't know that's where dry beans came from hmm.

PrincessGoodLife Wed 12-Sep-07 08:56:18


after an hour of gentle stewing

Scoobi6 Wed 12-Sep-07 09:39:04

Thanks for responding. Sounds straightforward enough! So you soak them to rehydrate, rather than to get rid of toxins or anything? blush

Squiffy Wed 12-Sep-07 09:44:08

Nigella has a recipe for the most heavenly veggie chilli using lentils - I can dig out for you tonight if you want.

PrincessGoodLife Wed 12-Sep-07 09:47:50

yes, scoobi6. That's why it takes longer for beans and only a little while for lentils (size). Drying them dehydrates them and means they can be stored long term.

(hoping that doesn't sound patronising because it's not wink)

Scoobi6 Wed 12-Sep-07 10:43:37

Fab, yes please squiffy I love veggie food and intend to hide lentils etc in it to get something nutritious into dh!

And thanks PrincessGL, I shall have a soak tonight and see how I get on!

elasticbandstand Wed 12-Sep-07 10:45:56

kidny beans definately have to be soaked.
chick peas need to be soaked.
if you cook with tomatoes, they all take longer to cook.
you can boil rapidlyfor 10 minutes and soak for an hour, brown lentils.

portonovo Wed 12-Sep-07 10:50:09

You can also do a quick soak if you've forgotten the night before - put beans in a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, switch off heat and leave 2-3 hours. Then cook as usual.

Squiffy Thu 13-Sep-07 11:30:39

Here you go: Nigella's Chilli. the recipe includes a bread toppign but I never bother with that bit..

And in case you are wondering, the 'cocoa' bit is NOT a typo. cocoa is what makes all chillis fab wink

Vegetarian Chili With Corn Bread Topping
For the chili:
2 TB olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups red bell peppers (about 2 large peppers), finely diced
2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 1/2 cups red lentils
3 cups canned chopped tomatoes
3 1/2 cups drained canned kidney beans
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder

For the corn bread topping:
1 tsp salt
2 cups cornmeal
2 TB flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp honey
2 TB vegetable oil
1 cup coarsely grated Cheddar cheese

For serving:
2 cups sour cream
1 cup chopped cilantro (fresh coriander).

1. To prepare chili, heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a deep,
wide pan with a lid. Add onions, garlic and bell peppers, and sauté
until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes, coriander,
cumin and cardamom pods. Stir in lentils.

2. Add chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, ketchup, tomato paste, cocoa
and 3 cups water. Stir well. Cover, and simmer, stirring frequently,
until mixture is thickened and beans are tender, about 45 minutes.
Chili can be made ahead to this point and topping added later. (In
that case, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days, bringing to room
temperature before proceeding.)

3. For corn bread topping, heat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl,
combine salt, cornmeal, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. In a
separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, honey and oil. Pour
liquid ingredients into dry; stir until combined.

4. Pour chili into a baking dish 13 by 9 by 3 inches. Spread corn
bread topping evenly over chili, and sprinkle cheese on topping. Bake
until topping has risen and turned golden brown, about 25 minutes.

5. Remove from oven, and let chili stand about 5 minutes. To serve,
cut into squares, and pass sour cream and cilantro at the table.

Yield: 8 servings.

hanaflower Thu 13-Sep-07 11:33:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Squiffy Thu 13-Sep-07 11:42:11

Yes I ended up cutting and pasting recipe from the internet - in the nigella book itself it has the 'real' measurements but I clean forgot to get it out last night, so this US of A friendly version will have to do. Not sure that matters though with nigella - I ROFL when I see her on TV - every time she says 'add about a teaspoon' you then see her shoving in about two tablespoons of whatever it is...

Scoobi6 Thu 13-Sep-07 14:11:06

Thanks Squiffy, that does look fab grin

NoBiggy Thu 13-Sep-07 14:21:44

Some beans (notably kidney beans) need a rolling boil for 10 minutes to destroy toxins, but for god's sake don't take my word for it, go and check. You don't want to make a mistake with it!

As they get older (and drier) obviously they take longer. So old chick peas are going to take about 3 weeks.

Have a go at sprouting some too. All you need is a big jar and an old bit of muslin.

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