Julia Child
Julia Child's Soaking Technique For 'Unforgettable' Beans
Cooking legend Julia Child's soaking tips for beans ensure that these nutritious legumes become "tender, meaty, and as thoroughly pleasurable as a bean can be," (per Food & Wine).
Soaking promotes a pleasant texture and even cooking. Older beans and thicker-skinned varieties like kidney beans and chickpeas benefit most from being rehydrated before cooking.
Start by thoroughly rinsing dried beans, and then cover them with cold water and soak overnight. Child uses plain water, but a pinch of baking soda can make your beans creamier.
If you live somewhere warm or are planning a longer soak, pop the beans in the fridge. The next morning, bite into a bean — it should be firm but not hard.
Drain the soaked beans. Though not recommended by some cooks, you could try cooking the beans in the bean-infused soaking water, but be sure to discard it if you added baking soda.
Add aromatics to the cooking water as if it were a stock. You can include carrots, celery, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, and even Parmesan rinds or meaty morsels.
Vegans can use paprika or dried kombu for depth. Once cooked, use the liquid as a base for dishes like Tuscan white bean soup, and add a splash of acid for the perfect finish.