Rehydrating and cooking dried beans

The task: Rehydrating and cooking dried beans

The pro: Cesare Casella, chef-owner at Salumeria Rosi (283 Amsterdam Ave between 73rd and 74th Sts, 212-877-4800)

Video by Karina Granda and Elizabeth Kreutz

Step 1
Place beans in a medium saucepan and cover with four inches of cold water (Casella used cannellini).

Step 2
Place on low heat and let sit for five minutes, stirring frequently. This will help loosen any grit from the dried beans.

Step 3
While the beans are simmering, prepare a bouquet garni—an herb satchel that will add flavor to the beans. Place chopped carrot, celery and onion, fresh herbs (Casella used rosemary and sage) and black peppercorns on a large square of cheesecloth. Lift and knot the top left and lower right corners; repeat with the top right and lower left corners. Secure the pouch with an additional knot.

Step 4
Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Step 5
Pour the beans back into the pot and refill with four inches of cold water. Place the pot over a small flame and add the bouquet garni. The goal is to cook the beans so that they will absorb the moisture gradually. Cooking time depends on the beans’ freshness, the size of the pot and the humidity in the air—anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. After the first half hour, check for readiness every five minutes—a perfectly cooked bean will crush easily between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Tip 1 Never let the beans boil. This means they are cooking too fast.

Tip 2 You can store prepared beans in their cooking fluid for up to one week in the refrigerator.

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