I include this information because it was an important step in my journey to including more beans. You don’t have to plan ahead very much: no overnight soak, no hour in advance plus cooking. I loved making dry beans in my pressure cooker. I have since read that they’re not as nutritious this way because they really need the long soak, and you’re cooking them too fast at too high pressure. (Isn’t that the point??) Anyway…I don’t use this method anymore, but I absolutely would in a pinch. I still use the basic concept of adding veggies and garlic to make a “broth” when I need a vegetable broth for a soup, especially for meatless meals during Lent.
Basic Beans in Aromatic Broth (pressure cooker recipe)
1 lb. (about 2 ½ cups) dried beans, picked over and rinsed
9 c. water
¾ tsp salt (add right at the start – enhances flavor and helps beans hold onto delicate skins and keep their shape)
1 Tbs oil (needed to control foaming)
2-4 unpeeled cloves garlic
2 lg bay leaves
1 lg carrot, halved
1 celery rib, halved
a few leek greens (optional)
In a 6-qt or larger cooker, combine the beans, water, salt and oil. Add the garlic, bay leaves, carrot, celery and leek greens.
Lock lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for the length of time indicated on Bean Timing Chart (below). Turn off heat. Allow pressure to come down naturally, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape.
Test the beans for doneness. They should mash easily and have a creamy texture. If just short of tender, replace (but do not lock) the lid and simmer until done. If still quite hard, return to high pressure for another minute (if they have just a bit of crunch) to 5 minutes (if they are quite hard) and again allow the pressure to come down naturally.
If time permits, allow the beans to cool in the cooking liquid, uncovered. (During this time, beans will firm up and any slightly underdone beans will complete cooking.) Drain in batches in a large colander. Avoid crushing the beans by piling them in a big heap. Reserve the broth for making soup or stew. Discard bay leaves and veggies. Refrigerate beans for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 4 months. 1 ½ cups cooked beans will equal a 15-oz can in recipes.
*Reduce water to 8 cups. Add a small, meaty pork bone.
*Omit salt and add a ham hock.
*Smashed Beans: Drain beans while they are still hot. Return beans to cooker and mash with olive oil, roasted garlic, chopped fresh herbs, and lots of salt and pepper. Smashed Beans make a nice alternative to mashed potatoes.
*Multi-Bean Soup: Instead of one type of bean, use a variety. (This is a good way to use up leftover beans in your pantry.) Reduce water to 4 cups and use 4 cups chicken broth. Peel garlic cloves and chop carrots, celery and leek greens. Use timing for longest cooking bean. After pressure release, season with salt, pepper, and chopped fresh herbs.
Note: if using a 4-qt cooker, divide recipe in half but use a full Tbs oil.
Bean Timing Chart
For firm beans, to be served on their own or in salads, cook for the minimum suggested time. Allow 15-20 minutes for the natural pressure release, which is essential to completing the job properly. Allow extra time for any additional cooking that may be needed. Always add 1 Tbs oil to control foaming; 2 Tbs oil for limas and soybeans. Do not fill the cooker more than halfway when cooking beans.
|1 cup dried beans||Minutes High Pressure w/ natural release||Yield in Cups|
|Black-Eyed Peas||6-8||2 ¼|
|Chickpeas (Garbanzos)||32-35||2 ½|
|Cranberry (Borlotti)||28-34||2 ¼|
|Great Northern||25-30||2 ¼|
|Lentils (brown or French green)||1 to 5 (after 1 minute high pressure, allow pressure to release naturally for 8 mins, then quick release any remaining.)||2|
|Lentils (red)||5 (red lentils do not hold their shape, so you can use quick-release method)||2|
|Lima (large)*||9-10||2 ½|
|Lima (baby)||13-15||2 ½|
|Peas (split, green or yellow)||10-12||2|
|Small Red Beans||26-30||2|
|Soybeans (beige)*||28-35||2 ¼|
|Soybeans (black)*||32-37||2 ½|
*Use 2 Tbs oil per 1 cup beans to control foaming.
Source: Pressure Perfect, a book I checked out from the library a few years back. My apologies for the lack of author credit!