Sunday, June 16, 2013

Soak or No Soak (And Happy Father's Day!)

In honor of Father's Day, here is a post by my sweet hubby and father of our three children. Yes, he's back writing!
Happy Father's Day!

I was always a soaker. Emphasis on the was...

I grew up on beans with smoked ham hocks, sliced onions and cornbread. Mom would fill a big pot with water, rinse and drain her beans and then fill it again a good couple inches above the beans. She would fish out the "floaters", put a lid on the pot and put it in the fridge to soak overnight. The next day she would cook those beans for what seemed like all day. They always tasted good. Very good. So, I followed her lead and became an overnight soaker and an all-day pot watcher.

And then...

I wanted to make some beans and cornbread for dinner the other day but I didn't have time to check a pot simmering all day. I could have used a crockpot but I'm partial to my dutch oven. Some time back I had done a quick boil combined with a shortened cook time but for the life of me I could not remember what I did. A quick check of my recipes returned zilch. Nada. Next stop; Google search.
Bingo! Right off the bat popped up a quick way to fix dried beans without the overnight soaking. I had hit pay dirt provided the resulting taste proved out.

And so???

I've joined the camp of the non-soakers. No more trying to find room in the fridge for a pot of water with beans soaking overnight. I kept pretty much to the process described in the link above. I didn't have my usual smoked ham hocks so I substituted bacon bits (used 1.5 oz of the real bacon bits that come in a resealable pouch; used the Oscar Mayer brand), adding them once the beans had come to a boil. With a quick stir and the plop of a lid I placed my dutch oven into a preheated 250 degree oven for 75 minutes. After cooking for the prescribed time, I turned off the oven and left the beans in for an additional hour while the oven cooled. The beans tasted great.
I served them up with Nana Joy's Cornbread and my own sliced, fried green tomatoes.
With all due respect to Mom, the no soak method is a time saver and helps reduce the need for pre-planning, as in soaking all night. Not to mention my not having to make room in an already crowded refrigerator :)


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