I first posted this in March 2012, almost 2 years ago! I still make bean paste (or beanbutter as Shaun calls it) every day, believe it or not. I don’t eat animal foods and I find these bean pastes a great way to boost protein (I know, I know) and add variety without having to eat so much soy.
This is how I make the bean paste I use in soups, stews, sauces, and spreads. I soak a few handfuls of dried beans overnight, about 12 hours. In the morning I rinse them and toss the water. These are cannellini beans:
Into a heavy pot. Bring to a boil then turn heat down to a simmer. Cover but leave vented about 1/2 inch. Stir periodically and add more water to keep beans submerged. After about 3 hours the beans will be very mushy. Let remaining water simmer away then. (Add water in small amounts, about 1/2 cup increments, slowly, down one side of the pot. You don’t want to lose the simmer.)
This is what it looks like after it cools a little. It’s not beautiful but it works great. Easier to digest than the intact beans you get from a can (plus there’s no BPA in a can lining to worry about), and it creates a nice thick background for soups and sauces.
I store my bean paste in the fridge until I’m ready to put together a soup. I’ve slowly been transitioning my storage containers from plastic to glass. You can buy these Pyrex storage bowls for a few dollars, very reasonable.
I use the same process as above for black beans, adzuki beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, etc. I also cook split peas and lentils this way, although I don’t soak those overnight. Here’s one soup using this cannellini bean paste: Cannellini Beans With Red Pepper And Rapini.