Y’know when you cook dry beans and there’s all that beany water that just goes down the drain?
(If you don’t simmer your own beans, you might consider it, since there’s not just a little BPA in those cans. What you save on buying dried legumes in bulk you can spend on a pressure cooker–a great investment.)
I was thinking about that murky water just today and what an incredibly valuable cooking resource it is. Pasta water is another thing that goes to waste. Both make good stock for soup or rice and other grains, too.
I need a vegetarian stock for a spinach-sorrel soup made from these fresh greens delivered by generous greenhouse-owning friends. (Have you noticed how much local product I use is actually given to me? What a place! See? Not everybody needs to ranch, farm and garden themselves to eat local.)
I don’t stock vegetable bouillon in the cupboard. It tastes funny to me. And while a veggie stock is not hard to make, it’s just another step I don’t have time for in my life right now.
But I do make beans. Every week.
Considering there are oodles of dry bean varieties, I should probably branch out more.
Anyway, I cook beans regularly because once they’re soft and edible, I have a lot of options. I can puree them for a spread or dip, add them to a soup or stew or throw some into a salad for extra sustenance. I even treated myself to a breakfast of huevos rancheros last week just because those black beans needed eating up. Yup, breakfast, lunch and dinner, those beans!
I always save the bean water. This by-product is starchy and mildly flavored but way better than using water in your cooking.
If I’ve simmered the beans with salt and a chunk of onion or garlic, the broth is tasty all by itself. But it’s even better with a nice fresh bunch of fresh, chopped greens tossed in until they wilt. I can puree it, or not, and season to my liking.
And since it just snowed 8 inches here, it’s still soup season and will be for a while.