Article by: Julie Thompson
Image: Andy Fox
One of the healthiest sources of protein is beans. Beans, such as pinto beans and black beans, are high in fiber, B-vitamins and magnesium, as well as are very low in fat and low in cholesterol. One cup of black beans contains 15 grams of protein and one cup of pinto beans contains 12 grams of protein. When beans are paired with whole grains, such as short grain brown rice, and vegetables, the proteins in the whole grains and vegetables balance with each other (whole grains and vegetables do contain protein!) and the body is able to easily assimilate and utilize all the essential amino acids contained in the beans, whole grains and vegetables.
But if you are anything like me, making beans from scratch usually equated to a time consuming process, one that I never seemed to make time for.. until now.
After speaking to many customers who purchased the VitaClay Chef Gourmet Rice & Slow Cooker Pro 8-Cup VF7900 and later have shared their wonderful experiences with the VitaClay, I immediately thought of the yummy bean recipes I once enjoyed and remembered how much I missed having beans as a part of my overall diet. After using the VitaClay, I now know why all those customers were so excited to share their wonderful experiences with the VitaClay. The VitaClay is a real time saver, as well as its unique “fast” slow-cooking process actually makes all the flavors in the recipe ‘pop’ and really come alive. With regular slow cookers I have used in the past, beans have cooked themselves to death and end up mushy and flavorless, regardless of the seasonings in the recipe. But the VitaClay is unique in how it cooks, it will bring to a boil the contents in the clay pot then slowly simmer, which I have found seals in the flavor of all the ingredients.
My favorite VitaClay Bean Recipe thus far:
1 Cup of Dried Black Beans or Dried Pinto Beans
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Cumin
4 cloves of freshly pressed garlic (more or less to taste)
2 Chopped Shallots
Rinse and sort 1 cup of dried black or pinto beans (discard any broken beans or foreign material). Then soak the 1 cup of dried black or pinto beans in 4-5 cups of filtered (purified or distilled) water. Place the bowl of soaking beans in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. I like to soak my beans for a full 24 hours but 12 hours is sufficient.
Drain the beans, but drain into a bowl and save the soaking-bean-water to use for cooking the beans. Rinse the beans and place the 1 cup of soaked beans in the VitaClay Clay Pot. Add the bay leaves, basil, chili powder, cumin, pressed garlic cloves, chopped shallots. Then add 2.5 cups of the soaking-bean-water to the beans and other ingredients inside the clay pot. (Because of the unique method of cooking in the VitaClay, you can actually use less liquid than you would otherwise use in other recipes, which is why the water ratio is much less than you may recall for other bean recipes.)
Plug in the VitaClay unit; place the clay lid on the clay pot, close the VitaClay cover and snap it closed. Press the “Slow Cooking” button until the display arrow is on the “Stew, Braise, Porridge” setting. Set the cooking time for 2 hours.
Now go and enjoy yourself for 2 hours, you do not need to babysit your beans!