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Alison Roman's Brothy Beans

Courtesy Alison Roman
Cook Time:
2 hrs
Prep Time:
10 mins
Servings:
6-8
RATE THIS RECIPE
(91)

Chef notes

If you'd like to make a pot of beans and are looking for a recipe, know that this is more a method than a recipe. Also, please note that this is more my method, my recipe and not the only method or the only recipe. There are a million fantastic ways to cook beans; this is simply one. The beauty of these beans is in their ridiculous simplicity and how truly wonderful they are in just about anything you can think of. They are also highly customizable, which you know I love.

Swap options: Use chickpeas instead, experiment with bean type; leave out the lemon if you have aversion to bitterness; use these beans to jumpstart dozens of meals (salads, soups, stews, sides).

Did you make this recipe? Show us! Your dish may be featured on the TODAY Show.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 small or 1 large onion, quartered through the root
  • 1-2 heads garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 lemon, halved crosswise
  • 1 small bunch or a few sprigs dried herbs like oregano, marjoram, thyme or rosemary
  • a few dried chiles or one fresh one, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pound dried beans (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cups water, plus more as needed
  • kosher salt

Preparation

1.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions, garlic and lemon. Cook until they're caramelized and nicely browned, a few minutes or so. This step will do a huge favor to your broth, adding depth and complexity non-caramelized ingredients could only dream of.

2.

Add dried herbs and chili. Add beans and water. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a bare simmer, leave the pot uncovered and cook until, as Steve Sando from Rancho Gordo puts it, "they're done." This can take anywhere from 50 to 120 minutes, depending on the size and age of the bean.

3.

If the beans need more liquid as they simmer, add more water. Depending on the bean and your preference for their final destination, the beans can be creamy and fall apart-y or tender and semi-al dente. I am not a bean expert, just a bean enthusiast, but just know I feel like the only way to truly ruin a pot of beans is if you buy old beans (they'll never become tender).

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