Many recipes call for you to drain the liquid off your canned veggies before cooking. Some call for you to then submerge them in water for cooking. For a long time, I’ve felt that was throwing away flavor. This is also true of beans, although I guess there’s some justification with beans, because you don’t want the final product to be too watery. It would be nice if we could recycle that bean-water, and where better than in unblandified oatmeal?

We had beans the other night. Two cans, drained into a bowl, gives just over a cup of bean-flavored liquid. I was wondering what I could do with it, when suddenly it struck me — Beanie-Oats! I mean, hey, what’s the worst that could happen?

I used the Quaker one-minute oats this time, one-third of a cup to three-quarters of a cup of bean water. Bring liquid to a boil, add oats, cook for one minute, stirring occasionally. Question, how many occasionalies in a minute? By the way, that was too much water, and I had to let it cook a little longer. The canonical recipe is two water to one oats, but that’s a little too much for the one minute oats, and very not enough for the twenty-minute oats.

Result: Umm, a little beany. OK, very beany. I was a third of the way through before it hit me — it tasted exactly like refried beans, but with an oaty texture. Once again, it needed a little something, and the refried bean flavor made me think of shredded cheddar cheese, which worked. So, the experiment was a success, but it’s not something I think I’d do very often. Maybe every third or fourth beanfest.


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