My `Secret` to the Best Dried Bean Soup in Town

I struggled for years to make a great soup from dried beans.  I tried many tricks – soaking, not soaking, salting before then after, cooking them slow, cooking them long and I always struggled.

Most beans do not need soaking (though it can speed up their cooking time).  Simply bring dried beans to a strong boil with lots of liquid (I use a minimum of 3-4 times liquid to bean).  I generally use liberally salted water.  Leave at a boil for 10 minutes before lowering to a simmer and monitor their progress.  Most will complete cooking in 40-70 minutes.

Because of such a dramatic range of cooking, my secret to a great multi-bean soup is simple:

My `Secret` to the Best Dried Bean Soup in Town

Cooking each bean is useful for many reasons:

  • It ensures each type of bean reaches the level of cooking you wish
  • It prevents discoloration from darker beans leaking into lighter ones
  • Excess liquid from lighter beans can be used if you don`t have enough in darker beans
  • You could flavor different beans with different stocks.

My standard stock for bean soup include a large can of diced tomatoes (2-4 cups of home canned slices), including liquid, 1-2 liters of stock and a can of tomato paste. I generally add some home-dried onions, dried-celery salt, salt and pepper. While cooking the beans I bring this to a gentle simmer and turn it off to cool (too much cooking turns the tomatoes to indistinguishable mush).

It`s a no-fuss amazing soup and one that improves through the week.

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  1. Have you tried using a pressure cooker? That’s how I cook my dried beans, and it works really great. I always make more beans than I need and freeze what I don’t use right away. I’ve read that you can freeze them in their cooking liquid, but I freeze them drained.


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