Beans take long to cook. Longer than beef, if you want them really soft. I like my beans to be soft to the point that they are almost like mashed potatoes but are still able to retain their shape. And to achieve that texture, I used to simmer the beans for half an hour, leave it to soak for several hours and then cook them together with whatever meat goes with them into a dish. Recently, however, I discovered that it is best to use a slow cooker. Because there is hardly any agitation during cooking, the beans cook to the perfect softness and still look like beans rather than mush.
Here’s how. Rinse the beans several times, soak for about four hours then transfer to the slow cooker. Pour in broth (preferably homemade) — not too much but just enough to cover the beans. Add some salt and whatever herbs you like. My kidney beans were perfectly done after twelve hours on low. The cooking time might vary depending on the kind of beans you’re cooking as some beans are smaller than others. The cooking time will vary too if you use a high / low combination.
Cool the beans then transfer to a jar with a screw-type cap. Yes, including the liquid. Keep in the fridge until you need it. You can even cook beans in a large batch, divide into portions when done, then store in several jars.