Firstly, if you are using dried black beans, in a small pot, cover them with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for approximately 45 minutes or until quite soft. Drain and rinse with cold water (refrigerate until required). When using any dried bean, the recipe books will tell you to soak your beans overnight. But the only advantage to soaking is to reduce the cooking time. You can make life even easier by using canned, drained black beans.