Delicately flavored Great Northern Beans make a wonderful addition to dishes like soups and baked dishes. As a matter of fact, Great Northern Beans are traditionally cooked in America as Boston baked beans whereas French cuisine incorporates these beans into a dish known as cassoulet.
These beans are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals and therefore complement any diet perfectly.
The best part about cooking Great Northern Beans is that they are lightly flavored and therefore, absorb the flavor of the ingredients with which they are cooked. Before cooking the beans, choose smooth, uniformly shaped ones; make sure to discard those beans which show signs of defect.
Great Northern Beans are available in both dry and canned forms. You may have to soak the dry beans for a while before cooking. Canned varieties can be used directly. Soak the beans for 8 hours before cooking. It would be a good idea to let the beans soak overnight. After soaking, you can cook the beans in a pressure cooker or crock pot.
Add salt and seasonings when the beans are almost done. Perfectly cooked Northern Beans have their skin intact but they are soft on the inside. Here are a few steps to give you nicely cooked Great Northern Beans.
• Wash and soak the beans overnight.
• Place the beans in a stock pot, crock pot or pressure cooker. The choice is yours.
• If you decide to cook beans in a pressure cooker, you will have to let it cook for 20 minutes or so. If you are using a stock pot or crock pot, let the water boil and then reduce the heat, so that the beans are left to simmer and cook on its own.
• Every now and then, check the beans to see whether they have been cooked.
• Add seasonings like salt, crushed black pepper, butter, olive oil, cilantro, mint, sage, garam masala or any other seasoning of your choice. The better the combination of seasonings you choose, the greater will be the flavor of the beans.
• Once the beans are done, drain away the excess water and use.
• You can season the beans with garlic and herbs and then puree it to make a good soup, or you can bake them or serve them with chicken or pork to make a great addition to any meal.
Here is an interesting recipe for Great Northern Bean soup.
1 lb Great Northern Beans
Cook the beans and ham separately. Add salt and pepper to the beans as per your taste. Add chopped onions, potatoes, celery and carrots to the beans and cook until they are done. Sauté some onions and green pepper, and add tomatoes to it and make a paste. Add it to the beans and vegetable mix and let it cook for half an hour. Remove the ham from the bone and add it to the soup.
This is just one of the many dishes that can be made using Great Northern Beans. Experiment with different seasonings and flavors and try out different dishes using these beans and you will never tire of cooking them.