Cooking under pressure

I often forget how good a pot of pintos can be. This last Sunday, I had to come up with a dish to take to church for our first Sunday after church dinner. I knew the main dish would be enchiladas, so I decided to make a pot of pinto beans. My recipe is simple, it’s dried pinto beans, picked, rinsed and soaked overnight. The next morning, drain and rinse the beans, put them in a pressure cooker, I used a whole 16 oz bag of beans, in that I poured in 2 cans of Campbells French onion soup (the concentrated stuff), then I put in 2 cans worth of water. I also added a dash of hot chili powder and a dash of mild chili powder, some fresh ground pepper and I started the beans. I am at high altitude so I have to cook my beans longer, I allowed them to come up to steam, then I cooked them for about 10-15 minutes, I was getting ready for church so I don’t know the exact timing, I probably let them go longer to make sure they were done.

I did forget one ingredient, I usually add some type of fat, usually olive oil or some other oil, but it didn’t matter, they turned out tasty without the additional fat. Once I was ready for church, I turned off the heat and let them sit for a few minutes, I didn’t have time to allow them to de-pressurize on their own, so carefully using a pair of tongs, I removed the rocker and let it de-pressurize that way.

Once it was safe to do so, I opened it and added salt, you never salt beans while they are cooking, it is supposed to make them tough. I tasted them and deemed them edible… :)

I decided I wanted them a bit thicker so I took a potato masher and mashed the beans until they were slightly thickened, I left most of the beans whole, I didn’t want refried beans. Well, I had made so much, and there was so much food at church that I was able to bring home enough for PB and I to eat them last night and again for lunch today, we just finished it off.

This recipe is so easy, and it turns out very tasty without having to use a ham hock or some other meat for flavoring, the beef stock and onions in the soup really add a great flavor. I have been known to just use canned beef stock if I was out of the French onion soup, if I do that, I will usually add a diced onion.

Being off-grid, we don’t have a lot of extra power or fuel to cook something all day, unless I go with a solar cooker, and that is on the list of things to do. Using a pressure cooker really cuts down the time it takes for beans and other foods to cook. I use if for my beans, I also use it for roasts and soups, oh and it makes fast work of baked potatoes. I have a stainless steel pressure cooker, I also have an old aluminum one but don’t like using it because of the aluminum. I also noticed that the stainless steel one is stronger and doesn’t warp, the lid is always easy to put on and take off. Here is the one I use (in the picture to the right).

It’s a 6 quart, I have used a 4 quart and it’s just not big enough, you can put an entire chicken in the 6 quart (a small to medium chicken, not a monster). There is an 8 quart, but just for PB and I that would be too big for daily use. Of course they have the larger ones for canning, but I’m talking about regular cooking.

I have found Amazon to be the cheapest for buying these, I see these in the stores for $70-$90, if you can find them locally cheaper, then by all means get one locally, but chances are you will not find a better price, oh and it has free shipping too (as of the time I posted this).

Beans beans, the musical fruit
the more you eat, the more you toot
the more you toot, the better you feel
lets have beans for every meal…

Sorry, couldn’t help myself :)

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3 Responses

  1. Love bean and cornbread…
    If you add an ounce or two of Apple Cider Vinegar to the water when you soak them, it makes a lot of the nutrients more bio-available. Rinse once, then cook.
    I have an old, old pressure cooker that still works great. I have to replace the rubber gasket every couple of years. I’m thinking of getting one that doesn’t use a gasket.

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