Preparation / Directions:
Place beans in large pot; add water to cover by at least 2 inches. Soak overnight or use quick-cook method: Bring to a boil, cook 2 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour.
Drain beans, then return to pot and add water to cover by 1 inch. Add onions and garlic. For a Mexican flavor, add cilantro and mint; for an Italian flavor, add a bay leaf or two.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered, stirring once or twice, for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Add water as needed, enough to cover beans with a little extra on top, but don't add too much or the beans "drown" and their flavor is compromised. Season to taste with salt.
Yields about 6 cups of cooked beans