In the Basque region of France they don't soak their signature Tolosa beans, they slowly braise them with just water, salt and olive oil. Time and heat to transform even the dense Tolosa beans from dry to creamy masterpieces. I've started experimenting with this method for other beans and the results are spectacular. It brings out all of the natural flavor of these heirloom varieties and delivers unsurpassed texture, all it takes is a little patience. You can add a few peppers, a cedar branch or a bay leaf to the pot for a little added je ne sais quoi or stick to the basics for the purest essence of the bean.
The biggest variable in this process is the cooking time. Some beans are more dense and will take 3 or more hours to cook from dry, but some will take just an hour or two on the stove. I started with the spectacular Cranberry Beans from Doudlah Farms which are creamy and give off a scrumptious bean broth you'll want to slurp up. They were so fresh that in under just over an hour they were creamy perfection sitting in a bath of mouthwatering broth.
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