- 1 pound (about 2 cups) dried beans
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
- 1 teaspoon salt
Rinse the beans and remove any dirt, pebbles or debris. Place in a large bowl and cover with cold water until they are submerged by an inch or so. Soak for at least 4 hours, then drain. The soaked beans will have doubled in volume, to about 4 cups.
Place the beans in a large pot, add 8 cups of cold water, plus the garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook at a hard boil for 5 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
Cover, lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer for 25 minutes. Season with the salt. Cover, and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Check for doneness. Cook in 10-minute increments until the beans are tender to the bite. Cooking times may vary depending on the age of the beans.
From here, you can take the beans to the next level -- chili, stew or soup. If you're making in advance, cool the beans and refrigerate, reserving both the now very soft garlic cloves and a small amount of the cooking liquid. The cooked beans are now triple in volume from their dried state, about 6 cups.