Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homemade Instant Beans and using The Heat Retention Cooking Method

Tuesday's Tutorial is one I have been working on for a long time. I think a lot of times it easy to get caught up in my mind with a "this is how we cook" mental state. In the last few years I've studied and applied the use of  
Solar cooking , including the building of several different Solar Oven cookers.  I've come a long way since My first solar oven   

In that process I learned a lot. Number one, first and foremost...I can learn something new everyday.  Second...I should learn something new about how to cook food.  I'm a chef and as food is hard wired in my brain so is the absolute desire to see that people all over the world are blessed.  I have a vision of seeing lives changed every day through my efforts...and I hope you do too. I know that together, we can make a difference.  Wow. I just got really sappy right there.  {Insert suave eyebrow raise} I know.  I don't do that often.

So today's tutorial has come to pass after being so excited about instant beans! After the last few classes on  Convenience Meals  and cooking with them, I've had a lot of requests for this tutorial.  I found some instant beans from THRIVE that can are already made, but I also wanted to see if it could be done at home.  Yup. Totally can be done.  Highlighted today are the ever amazing beans from Colorado. All hail the farm-folk up there! Dang it. There's a lady who lives in my house Granny who grew up with those bean folk...and a gal named Elsie who almost cried when she saw her beloved Bolita beans from CO come home once again. Thanks folks. Awesome beans!  I found these at our local 

 These are the Zuni Gold beans. I think they're pretty. I'd hot glue them to my favorite funky-purse and wear them as a snazzy accessory...but I think today we'll just cook them instead. Right?{ I'm secretly stuffing some in my pocket of to my right side. Now I'm mystically waving my hands in front of your face. You didn't see anything.}
 Our Heat Retention cooking class starts NOW.  For more on this amazing cooking method look HERE. It's not, in fact, a new method!   I've used my solar cooker as a sun-less cooker! Yes...it can be done! You can cook without the sun too! It's been particularly off-n-on sunny the last bit so I wasn't sure if I could pull it off...but I did. So I'm showing you. I did the post on Using Your Sun Oven as a Slow Cooker 101
 but failed to mention what to do should the sunlight be intermittent or it get cloudy shortly into your cooking. Heaven forbid! Well...there is salvation.
 Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain. Add 6 cups more water.  Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes (or in the solar oven, cook 20 minutes until at 350 degrees.)
 At this point, let's hypothetically say that the sun goes behind the clouds. In Arizona we've had several days like this lately. Annoying. But...I've found this out...I can sitll cook the beans.
 Cover the pot with towels, tightly fitting them around the bottom and sides of the hot pot. If you don't have a solar oven, this method will also work using a hay basket lined with blankets.  For more on this amazing cooking method look HERE. It's not, in fact, a new method!
 Close up your solar oven and allow beans to cook for 1 1/2 hours or more. Up to 8 hours.  Now. To make them into Instant beans that cook much quicker I made use of my method for Solar Dehydrating using my Bigger Bolder Sun Oven...big enough for 12 loaves . This has been an epic tool for dehydating and getting the food warm for things like beans.  At any rate. The cooked beans can go on a metal cooling rack in the solar oven and if the top of the oven is vented open by having a crack left unclosed, they will start as this...
 12-15 hours later they will be dry and shelf stable like this:
These can be cooked in as little as 20 minutes! Take one cup of instant beans and 3 cups of water. Simmer...or heat for 10 minutes over boiling water and use the Heat Retention method we talked about here. Either way will work.
I have enjoyed using them in my Convenience Meals in a Jar.
Personal favorite...the Bean and Rice Fajita Casserole using the Heat Retention Method.
There you go! Some awesome new tips for cooking without power and making instant beans!

 Again, if you want to learn more about the heat retention method I also recommend this e- book: Retained Heat Cooking ... the Wave of the Future Again . 
It's only 55 pages and under 10$ and I learned A LOT from reading it. xoxo! Special thanks and hugs to author Leslie Romano!


TheRosaryLady said...

I really really do love you, ya know?!? I am so thankful for your wealth of knowledge.

Chef Tess said...

Thank you my dear!!

deerie65775 said...

What a GREAT IDEA!! I have quite a few beans in storage that I rarely use. I think I will precook them (plain) then pop in my dehydrator and jar them up. I think I would use them more often if they were quick cooking. PLUS, I am anxious to try your White Chicken Chili meal in a jar and have not been able to find the 'quick cook' beans (even online).. (YET!! I will keep looking!) But until then, I will make my own. Thanks!!

diane said...

What are the directions for making the instant beans using stove and oven? Or do I need to use a dehydrator? No way can I use the sun as Portland Oregon has had the wettest dreariest spring ever! Am loving your meal in a jar idea and am teaching a class this week in RS--thanks for such great info!

Chef Tess said...

Cook them on the stove as you normally would. I have a full tutorial on how to cook beans from my bean classes if you want a copy. I am happy to send it to you via email. chef-tess@hotmail.com.

Once beans are cooked, you can dehydrate in an electric dehydrator as well. I have not tried them in the oven yet, but that's one of my next experiments.

Jamie said...

Are instant beans and quick cook beans the same thing? I see that honeyville has red and black quick cook beans, would these work in your jar recipes that call for instant beans? Thanks

jdm6of18 said...

Stephanie, I've had good results slightly undercooking beans (soak, then 20 minutes in pressure cooker), then spreading beans out single layer in dehydrator. Takes about 5 hours +/- at 125 degrees.

Will have to try your solar method, I've been solar cooking many years - lived in Palm Springs area for 23 years. Set your coffee & breakfast egg outside at night, wake up to breakfast ready at 7:00am. Lunch soup can be hot at 175degrees, no matter temp in December never got above 70degrees.

Solar is a lovely way to cook as is heat retention. Thanks so much for helping people learn how to use these great energy saving techniques. Janice