We cook our own beans here often. They are usually tastier than canned beans, in my opinion. I have noticed that many canned beans have corn syrup added, and I find that completely unnecessary. I have a few different ways to make a perfect pot of beans, depending on what I have on hand. This is how to make a perfect pot of beans.
Butter or oil (optional)
Soak beans overnight if you wish. Sometimes I forget and then soak them while I'm getting the kids off to school in the morning. Rinse beans and put them in a pot. Add water and/or broth until you have at least an inch of liquid over the beans.
Add chopped onion, if desired. Add bacon, if desired. I usually use 4 slices. Don't bother cutting it up. As it cooks it will fall apart on its own. Add spices. I always use salt and pepper. I like to use garlic powder too. I will use onion powder if I don't have an onion. Right now I have a bottle of Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic seasoning blend. It is wonderful in a pot of beans. I don't have any exact measurements for the spices. I just throw some in there, and add more later if needed. This is how I cook. It drives me crazy when I need a measuring spoon and I can't find one so I usually eyeball it.
I like to add some *real* butter or oil. This is optional. Personally, I think it changes the texture of the beans a little bit. If I use butter, I use a few tablespoons. If I use oil (usually either vegetable or extra-virgin olive) I'll throw in a tablespoon or two.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Stir occasionally and check liquid level from time to time. You will probably need to add more liquid once or twice.
I'm not sure how long this takes - usually around 7 hours or so at my house. This is probably because when I need to go somewhere, I just turn the beans off and turn them back on when I return. You can also make these beans in a crock pot, if you prefer.
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