How to Cook Black Beans for Stews, Burritos & Dips

Everyone, and I mean everyone, should know how to cook black beans. If the idea of beans that don’t come from a can is news to you, I’m not here to judge. We all start somewhere. Even in the U.S., where beans have been cultivated for millenia, there’s …

Everyone, and I mean everyone, should know how to cook black beans. If the idea of beans that don’t come from a can is news to you, I’m not here to judge. We all start somewhere. Even in the U.S., where beans have been cultivated for millenia, there’s been an explosion of heirloom varieties just in the past few years as people move beyond the can. Heirloom bean producers like Rancho Gordo have spread awareness that the variety of delicious dried legumes available is nearly infinite. But when it comes to burritos, I have strong feelings. As much as I love pinto and refried beans, I think a good burrito needs black beans. They’re meaty, and almost mushroomy at the same time, and great on their own. In fact, they’re the beans I cook most often at home. And they’re much, much better when made from scratch. If you’ve always eaten your beans from a can, here’s a simple guide for how to cook black beans.


Black Beans, Explained

The common bean—the species that includes black as well as pinto, kidney, and cranberry beans—was first cultivated in southwestern Mexico around 7,000 years ago. The bean itself is a seed, consisting of an embryonic plant (which becomes the sprout), surrounded by two hard, nutrient-rich leaves called cotyledons, which are in turn encased in a hard, water-resistant seed-coat. Beans are full of nutrients, particularly starch and protein (three times as much as in wheat or rice), and also packed with flavor. Like many other seeds, dried beans are tough, and need some coaxing to transform into the tender, creamy morsels I spoon over, well, everything.

Read More >>

The Essential Knives I Learned About From ‘Kitchen Confidential’

The late, great Anthony Bourdain became a household name at the turn of the millenium thanks to his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, which was published in 2000, and has been in print ever since. The collection of essays is famous for its strong opinions …

The late, great Anthony Bourdain became a household name at the turn of the millenium thanks to his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, which was published in 2000, and has been in print ever since. The collection of essays is famous for its strong opinions about everything from garlic (“Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic.”) to vegetarians (“Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”). And, of course, knives.

Like many culinary authorities, Bourdain believed you don’t need a lot of knives to do a lot of cooking. His bare essentials included a chef’s knife, paring knife, offset serrated knife, and flexible boning knife. (And unless you’re breaking down animal parts on a regular basis, you can skip that last one and manage just fine.)

Read More >>

How to Make Overnight Oats Without a Recipe

Here at Food52, we love recipes—but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don’t always need a recipe, you’ll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.
Multitasking always seems like a better idea than it is. I…

Here at Food52, we love recipes—but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Multitasking always seems like a better idea than it is. It's just an innocent, time-saving technique until one day, as you're texting, listening to music, and writing an essay at the same time, you end up texting your mom about how annoying your mom is. Whoops!

Read More >>

The Best Thyme Substitutes for All Your Dishes, Savory & Sweet

Have you ever heard that folk ballad, “Scarborough Fair”? You know, the one that lists a bunch of herbs in the middle of every verse: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme? Though it was popularized in the 1960s by singer-songwriter duo, Simon & Garfu…

Have you ever heard that folk ballad, "Scarborough Fair"? You know, the one that lists a bunch of herbs in the middle of every verse: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme? Though it was popularized in the 1960s by singer-songwriter duo, Simon & Garfunkel, the song has roots in Medieval England; it's named after a big open-air market that took place in Scarborough, a town outside of Yorkshire, in Northern England. At the fair, all sorts of merchants, farmers, entertainers, and visitors would gather for food, drink, revelry, and, yes, stocking up on herbs.

Back then, herbs were prized for their numerous purported medicinal and healing powers: parsley, for settling the stomach and curing toothaches; sage, to treat epilepsy, liver failure, and fevers; rosemary, for everything from cleaning teeth to warding off evil spirits. Thyme, the most powerful of them all, was long associated with courage, bravery, and strength on the battlefield; it was known to be an antidote to poison, a preventer of the plague, and a lot more.

Read More >>

How to Make Vegetable Stock Without a Recipe

We love recipes—but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don’t always need a recipe, you’ll make your favorite dishes a lot more often. Here, we show you how to make soups and stews more flavorful with what…

We love recipes—but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often. Here, we show you how to make soups and stews more flavorful with whatever vegetable scraps you have on hand—or the cheapest produce at the market.

If you're not already making your own vegetable stock, you should start now.

Read More >>

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash: A Noodle-y, Saucy Love Story

According to specialtyproduce.com, the first known record of spaghetti squash was made in 1850. A short 163 years later, I made my own first record of it in a crowded restaurant in downtown Manhattan, in the form of an iPhone note.

Yes, I was a little…

According to specialtyproduce.com, the first known record of spaghetti squash was made in 1850. A short 163 years later, I made my own first record of it in a crowded restaurant in downtown Manhattan, in the form of an iPhone note.

Yes, I was a little behind the curve (the low-carb craze had hit the U.S. many years earlier), and yes, I was already several decades into my life—both facts featured prominently in my note. But most important, as outlined in all caps, was a single question: "WHY HAVE I NEVER HAD THIS BEFORE?"

Read More >>

33 Genius Summer Recipes for Labor Day

Whether you’ve scouted out a camping spot in the woods or will be bumping around at home, these recipes will make the long weekend better, more festive, more memorable, and therefore make it last, maybe, forever.
Read More >>

Whether you've scouted out a camping spot in the woods or will be bumping around at home, these recipes will make the long weekend better, more festive, more memorable, and therefore make it last, maybe, forever.

Read More >>