I give this 4 out of 5 because it is a good recipe true to form, but there are some techniques that could help make sure the beans turn out the way you want them to - that is, nice and creamy beans in a relatively thick cooking liquid. So here's the trick: brine your beans overnight in plenty of water and 2-3 tablespoons of salt. You may worry they'll be salty. They will be. But you'll dump a lot of that salty water off. Because you've done this, don't add any salt to the recipe until the end to suit your tastes. Since you've now brined them, add them to the pot with water to cover, add your other ingredients (I soften my onion and garlic in a little oil over medium heat first), and bring to a boil. Reduce to a VIGOROUS simmer for 45-60 minutes. Stir occasionally. That simmer will give you the thick cooking liquid. After that, you can add more seasonings or ham if you like, and continue to simmer until your beans are all nice and soft - maybe up to 30 minutes or so. Another note, I love to use up a left over ham bone if there's one lying around, and add a bay leaf or 2 to the mix. If you have bean issues (your beans are always crumbly and not creamy), then definitely give these tips a whirl and see if it doesn't help!
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I give this 4 out of 5 because it is a good recipe true to form, but there are some techniques...