I'm partial to beans from Rancho Gordo and Phipps Country Store and Farm. I have had good luck with the following method:
- Rinse, then cover with cool water. Soak for several hours, then drain and rinse.
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add minced onion (and, optionally, diced carrot and celery), cook until tender.
- Add beans and water.
- Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Let boil for a minute or two.
- Pour everything into a slow cooker.
- Add herbs as desired (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf).
- Cook until tender (a few hours), then add salt to taste.
The solar cooker is also a great way to cook beans if you have one, plus the sun and time. If you eat pork, the addition of cooked Italian sausage or bacon can be an impressive flavor booster.