Today’s post is a guest post by Jill Nussinow, The Veggie Queen. For the past 16+ years, Jill, a registered dietitian, cooking teacher and cookbook author, has been teaching people how to successfully use the pressure cooker to get great meals on the table quickly. Her most recent book is The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes. Her previous book The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment also contains a chapter on pressure cooking.
Jill recently sent me an ebook copy of The New Fast Food to review and graciously offered to guest post on Pressure Cooking Today.
The Veggie Queen
I am a vegetarian – a bean eating vegetarian which is how I came to use a pressure cooker. Imagine cooking beans in just minutes. Often I can cook my soaked beans in less time than it would take to drive to the store for a can of beans. I only keep cans around for emergencies.
I’ve been pressure cooking, and teaching others how to use one, for more than 16 years. The pressure cooker is one of my most essential pieces of kitchen equipment. I’ve even packed and hauled it for car camping trips, and taken it with me to do cooking demonstrations across the country. If you use one, you know that it’s fast, uses less fuel or energy (saving 50 to 70) and best of all, it makes food taste great.
Cooking beans from scratch saves results in better tasting beans that are sodium free or low in sodium, if you use kombu seaweed as I suggest. You’ll also save money. One of my students figured out that the money that she saved on buying canned beans would pay for her pressure cooker in less than a year.
You can pressure cook dry or soaked beans. Presoaked pinto, black, small white or kidney beans take just 4 to 6 minutes at pressure, while garbanzo beans take just 12 to 14 minutes at pressure. To use unsoaked beans, multiply the cooking time 3 to 4 times the regular time to start. (Black beans take around 25 minutes at pressure if they have not been presoaked.)
To soak beans, put them in a large bowl and thoroughly cover them with water and soak at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours. Drain and then cook.
A quick-soak saves time but uses more energy. Cover your beans with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour drain and cook.
To cook the beans, use ¾ cup of water for each 1 cup of dry beans that are presoaked. Bring to high pressure over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain high pressure. Once your timer beeps, remove the pot from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally. Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you.
If you want to be sure that your beans remain intact, do not do a quick release with them as they are likely to split apart. Also, the beans continue cooking during the natural pressure release, thus using less energy. I suggest that you taste a few beans to determine if they are fully cooked.
Once you’ve cooked a large batch of beans, use them right after cooking or freeze them in zippered bags in 1 to 2 cup amounts, making sure that you date and label your bags. Add the cooked beans to your salads, soups, stews, chili or make hummus or another bean dip. Yum.
Basic Pressure Cooked Black Beans
- 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked*
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 piece kombu seaweed
- 1 sprig epazote, if available
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Salt for after cooking
Put the soaked beans, water, kombu, garlic, herb and spices in the pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure over high heat. When the button pops up, start timing. After 5 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally. Taste to be sure that the beans are cooked through. If not, put them back on the heat and bring to pressure for another minute or two. Repeat bringing them to pressure and letting the pressure come down naturally.
Open the pot, tilting the lid away from you. Remove the kombu and epazote. Salt the beans, to taste.
Quick soak: Cover your beans with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour drain and cook.
“Pressure cooking takes so little time that there’s no need to buy canned beans any more (and be concerned about the BPA in the cans). They taste better from the pressure cooker, too. I like to always presoak my beans but you can do them from dried but they take much longer (25 mins) and require more water (3 cups)”
Thanks so much Jill for sharing your technique. I have a bag of black beans in the cupboard just waiting to be pressure cooked. I’m loving The New Fast Food. It’s a great resource. Thanks!
First photo provided by photo by Alan Bartl.