There is something special about slow simmering a pot of beans on a Sunday but knowing how to quick cook beans for a fast brothy bean soup is my favorite parlor trick for easy weeknights. Most Sundays the task of cooking beans is a regular part of our meal prep tasks. No matter the type of beans, it’s a traditionally held belief that soaking beans helps with the cooking process. In instances though where I’m short on the amount of time required to prep my favorite recipe for beans, I’ll opt for a quick-soak method.
Today, I’m sharing my go-to method for quick-soak beans and a recipe for brothy beans that yield tender beans in a flavorful broth. It’s the perfect winter meal for chilly nights!
How to Quick Soak Beans
In instances where we might forget to soak dried beans, start by rinsing beans in a colander with cool water. Allow the cold water to run over the pound of beans for a couple minutes. Next, add the rinsed beans to a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven and cover with enough water to cover beans with a couple inches of water. Add in a tablespoon of salt. Bring your bean pot to a rolling boil for just a couple minutes. Turn off the heat immediately and allow the dry beans to soak in the hot water for about an hour.
After this initial hot soak, drain the soaking liquid and give the beans a quick rinse. Place the now pre-soaked beans back into the Dutch oven and add enough water to cover the beans a couple inches. Bring the beans to a simmer then cook on low heat for 2 to 3 hours until beans are tender. When it comes to cooking any kind of beans, I love to include aromatics like half an onion, half a head of garlic, fresh herbs, and some black peppercorns. When it comes to my preferred types of beans to use, I am a Rancho Gordo fan through and through. From their Marcella white beans to pinto beans and even garbanzo beans, Rancho Gordo is the best.
Storing Your Cooked Beans
Once the cooking time has passed and the beans are tender to the bite, allow them to cool to room temperature before portioning out to store. You can store them in freezer safe containers in the freezer for up to six months. I love storing the beans in their cooking liquid since that brothy bean liquid has a lot of flavor and it’s the best way to keep the flavor of the beans intact.
Using Your Beans for a Brothy Beans Recipe
Now that we have prepped our beans from the quick soak method, we can now use them in a brothy beans dish. Scroll down for the printable recipe card. To prep, our beans we’ll need the following:
- A large pot of cooked beans: In this recipe we’re using Borlotti from Rancho Gordo but I’ve also made this with Navy Beans or Great Northern Beans. The beans have a slightly creamier texture that yields a velvety mouthfeel to this dish. They’re also even better next day. If you don’t have much time to give the beans a good time to soak, you can also use canned beans like cannellini beans too.
- Bone Broth: We used Bonafide Chicken Bone Broth and it was utterly delicious. If you don’t have bone broth on hand, chicken stock or vegetable stock will work just as well here too.
- Aromatics: Garlic and shallot are used here to add a bit of flavor when quickly sauteed in a bit of olive oil before adding in the beans.
- Lemon: This was a game changer for our brothy beans and I have to thank Samin Nosrat and her book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, for this. The lemon juice offers an acidity that tenderizes the beans during the cooktime. Allow the halved lemon to simmer along with the beans. When done, gently squish it with the back of a wooden spoon to release the juices. It balances out the dish beautifully and adds a brightness to the beans that’s unparalleled.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs are a great way to add flavor without adding salt or more fat to the dish. Fresh rosemary and thyme are stellar here.
- Optional Parmesan Rind: If you’re aiming to keep this dish vegan, opt for vegetable broth and skip this parmesan rind. I love a brothy soup with the parmesan and a grating of it at the end is also great. But this is definitely optional.
Brothy Beans with Garlic and Shallot
- 1 5 quart dutch oven
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium shallots peeled and finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 lemon halved
- 1 lb cooked from dried borlotti beans with their bean stock
- 4 cups bone broth
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan plus a parmesan rind
- 3 cups chopped kale or spinach
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Crispy shallots to top optional
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large dutch oven on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for just a minute until their fragrant aromas release.
- Add the beans and all of their liquid to the pan, then add the stock, Parmesan rind (if using), crushed red pepper flakes, and the halved lemon. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the Parmesan rind and the lemon, squeezing it against the side of the pot to release all of its juices. Stir in the greens and allow to wilt, roughly 5 minutes.
- Ladle the brothy beans into four bowls, drizzle with olive oil, gratings of Parmesan, the crispy shallots if using, and lots of black pepper.