Cooking Beans, the No-Soak Way

MAKES: 6 to 8 servings

TIME: 30 minutes to 4 hours, largely unattended

This is the only method you need for lentils and split peas, which cook pretty fast and don’t absorb a lot of water.

The main advantage of cooking other beans this way is that they go from raw to mushy very slowly. So compared to soaked beans, you have more control and less chance of missing the moment when the beans are perfectly tender with their skins intact. The downside is that you will also need to watch the water level more closely than you do with either of the soaked methods.

1 pound any dried beans, split peas, or peeled and split beans, washed and picked over

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the beans in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and cover with cold water by 2 or 3 inches. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the beans bubble gently. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, checking the beans for doneness every 10 or 15 minutes, and adding a little more water if necessary.

When the beans start to get tender, add a large pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. As the beans get closer to being finished, they need to be covered with only an inch or two of water. Stop cooking when the beans are done the way you like them, taste and adjust the seasoning, and either use immediately or store.