Red kidney beans are so named because of their shape, which is very similar to that of the human kidney. They have an earthy flavor and solid texture, and are common in soups, stews, chili, and rice dishes. This method for cooking red kidney beans will allow you to prepare any size portion necessary, and may be modified to suit individual tastes.
Spread the dried red kidney beans out onto a clean baking sheet. Sift through them with your hands to remove any dirt, small pebbles or other debris. Transfer the beans to a colander and rinse them under cold running water.
Place the rinsed beans into a large stock pot. Add 3 cups of cold water for every one cup of beans, or about 10 cups of water for a 1 lb. package of dried red kidney beans. Allow the beans to soak overnight, uncovered.
Drain the water from the beans by pouring the contents of the pot through a colander. Rinse them under cold running water and then return to the pot. Cover the beans with fresh water and place on the stove.
Bring the beans and water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for approximately 1 ½ hours. Remove one of the beans to check for doneness by biting or pinching.
Continue simmering the beans for another 15 minutes, if necessary. Check again for doneness and repeat every 15 minutes until the desired tenderness is reached. Red kidney beans typically need around 2 hours cooking time, as a general rule.
Remove the red kidney beans from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately. Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to four days before discarding any unused portion.