December 14, 2007

Holy Beans!

Lately, I've been trying to recapture that lunchtime feeling from Congo, when I would nuzzle up to the office cook, to see her red beans rolling in tomato sauce and bouillon-cubed water. That steam, those bursting skins, that salty tomato sauce! Just heaven, even in a hot climate…

We would then have to loosen our belts, and deal with that heavy, satiated felling for the rest of the afternoon.

So I bought red beans yesterday, out of nostalgia, and forgot to soak them over night. No worries I thought, I can just boil them for a few minutes, let them sit out for a while, and cook them for 30 mins. Not so. The beans were almost as hard as they were when they were dry.

So I decided to take a break and have them for dinner the next day. The next evening, I took them out of the fridge and cooked them for another hour. Still not soft enough to be edible! So I left them for the next day. On and on, until I had cooked them for what seemed like 4 hours! And they still aren't quite soft enough to eat.

I now have a newfound respect for Maman C├ęcile, the Congolese office cook.


Astrogirl said...

When I make bean soup, I don't soak the beans ahead of time, but I let the soup cook all day. The bad news is you have to choose a day when you'll be home, but the good news is you can make a large amount at one time and freeze it.

007 in Africa said...

All day?? Are you serious? Well, that will teach me... It also tells me that all those cook books that say to cook the beans for two hours are extremely optimistic!

strudel said...

flipping rocks! cooking beans a whole day! that's why you Northamericans waste a lot of coal and oil. Every lazy bum would tell you that hard raw beans are supposed to rest one day and one night in cold water, before you cook them for about half an hour. This is really the sunset of America, I fear.

Victoria said...

Yep, all day. Steam cookers are also best for cooking beans.

You want to make sure they're well cooked, too, because uncooked beans are poisonous for you!

I hadn't realised that you were writing again, so now I have a backlog of posts to catch up on. Sweet.

Beaver said...

Yeah. Considering how much people eat beans in latin america/carribbean, it's a wonder anything gets done. People must be spending their time cooking their g*d*m frijoles. (Can you tell I'm no big fan?)