soak beans overnight or bring beans to rolling boil for 1-1/2 hours. You do not need to do both (I soak). DO NOT add the salt until the very end or your beans will be hard....that's it! Let me know how it turns out.
I don't soak, I don't pre-boil. I just pick the beans through to make sure there's no pebbles, icky beans, etc, rinse them really well and chuck them into the crockpot with enough water to cover by about 1" (don't forget to spice the water, too).
About a half hour or so before the beans are done, chuck in the tomatoes, the tomato paste and whatever veggies you want in it. Let that go until it's done to your liking, taste re-adjust seasonings (if you need to) and serve.
I'm doing some black bean chili that way today. I soak my black beans overnight in water to cover. And then threw them in the crockpot this morning with all the fixings and cook them all day on low. When we get home from karate they will be ready for dinner!
hmm, I should note that I generally crock pot my beans for 8-9 hours. I see there are a few who don't soak, it didn't work for me in the short time in the crock but maybe over a longer period, like the 12 hours stated above, it may work.
I agree with Seasiren, I always soak my beans overnight, then discard the liquid, rinse well, *then* put them into the crockpot with about 4-5 inches of water & usually cook them on high for about 8-10 hrs. depending on what type of beans I'm cooking.
You can get by without soaking beans in a lot of recipes BUT tomatoes can keep the beans from softening as well. In chili I would definitely presoak, and maybe precook as well. In soups or for just a pot of beans you probably can get by without presoaking.
I made a bean/rice/veggie crumble thing in the crockpot yesterday. I soaked'em for about 2-3 hours with a piece of kombu and then put them in the pot with garlic and spices and cooked them on high for about four hours..they were just about ready.
One thing you should be aware of -- if you are either unaccustomed to eating beans, or just prone to gas pains, you should soak your beans overnight, discard the soaking water and cook in new water. Even if you're cooking them in the crockpot.
(If you've got a cast-iron stomach, or if you're just a BeanLady/BeanGent such as myself who eats beans all the time, then you can skip the soaking with no untoward intestinal side-effects. But if you are new to the joy of beans, Soak'Em!)
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