Thursday, August 4, 2016

Cooking Under Pressure: Pinto Beans



Today I'm sharing the pressure cooker recipe I make more than anything else: pinto beans! 

Beans are an amazing source of nutrients. They are high in fiber and low in fat, making them a great ingredient for more healthful cooking. Another bonus: they are crazy cheap! You can find dry beans for anywhere from $.50 to $1.50 a pound. And that's in their dry form! They'll about double their weight when you cook them making them $.25 to $.75 a pound! The cheapest meat I can buy is at least $2 a pound. Cooking with beans can save you a ton of money and do wonders for your health. 

Beans are great for your body and your budget, so what's the catch? Why isn't everyone on board the bean train? The main problem with beans is that they take a long time to cook and you have to remember to soak them first. You could buy canned beans but they are often loaded with sodium and it's much cheaper to cook with dry beans. The solution? A pressure cooker! I got an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker as a wedding gift and it has been a revelation for me in more ways than one. But the best thing about this appliance is that it cooks beans from dry to plump and delicious in no time flat. 

I grew up in Southern California so I LOVE Mexican food and cook it often. I used to buy canned beans for my recipes, but now with my pressure cooker I don't have to! Here is my recipe for super flavorful pressure cooker pinto beans. And be sure to check out the video above for my tip on freezing these beans for future fast meals.

Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans
Prep: 5 minutes     Cook: 65 minutes
Yield: 8 cups

2 tablespoons fat of your choice (I use vegetable shortening, but you can use lard, bacon fat, etc.)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon epazote (you can find thsi at Mexican markets or purchase from www.penzeys.com)
2 4-oz cans diced green chiles, undrained
1 pound dry pinto beans, rinsed and sorted
5 cups water

To the inner pot of your electric pressure cooker, add the fat and chopped onion. Press the sauté button and cook until the onion is slightly translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Add the epazote and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add the green chiles, pinto beans, and water. Be sure you are not overfilling your pressure cooker. Put the lid on. Cook on high pressure for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes has elapsed, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, quick-release the remaining pressure by switching the tab from the sealing position to the venting position. Once the pressure has released completely, remove the lid. At this point you can add salt to taste then serve or store the beans.

If you'd like to make refried beans, just use an immersion blender right in you pressure cooker pot to blend the beans to your desired consistency. They may seem soupy at first, but will thicken substantially if you let them sit a while. If they still seem too soupy, turn on the sauté button and cook them down to your desired consistency. 

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