Cooking Tool of the Month – Pressure Cooker
The pressure cooker is a magnificent tool in the kitchen. It saves time, money, energy and space. It is hands-down one of my most prized kitchen gadgets. I often joke in my cooking classes that I love it so much I want to marry it. Or that it will be placed in my casket with me when I die. All jokes aside, the number one reason I purchased a pressure cooker was to be able to make beans from scratch very quickly. There is nothing like fresh cooked beans! The stuff out of a can doesn’t even come close to the taste and texture of beans cooked in a pressure cooker.
You will want to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for cooking times, but most beans after soaking 6-8 hours (or using the quick soak method described in Jill Nussinow’s book The New Fast Food) take anywhere from 8-12 minutes to cook. What I often do is put them on to soak right before I go to bed and make them in the morning. Or get them soaking before I leave for work (if I had a regular 9-5 type job) and cook them when I get home from work. Easy peasy. (keep in mind some beans and lentils do not have to be soaked)
Beans are SO versatile. You can make a beautiful bean and veggie soup with them.
Or you can make a bean pate with them. We’re not just talking hummus folks. You can puree all kinds of beans with different herbs and spices to make a variety of creamy bean dips. For Cookbook Mania last week I made the White Bean Spread from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. This book was gifted to me and I was excited because I love her blog, 101 Cookbooks. Unfortunately, this cookbook is vegetarian all the way. There is some form of dairy in almost every recipe. I’m just too lazy to have to work around that, so I chose this bean dip. Using fresh beans from my pressure cooker made it pretty good.
Beans are my preferred plant-protein source. I love them all! I have yet to meet a bean or legume I didn’t like. They all have different tastes, textures, and uses. Full of fiber and protein they are my #1 superfood. Are you on the bean train yet? Maybe you have problems digesting beans. Maybe they give you gas and discomfort. If you make beans in the way I am about to describe, those problems will soon be far behind you. No more toot toot for you! 😉
Kombu is a sea vegetable and is essential for aiding in digestion when cooking beans. You can find it at any natural food store and since it is dried will last a long time. You only need a one square inch piece per cup of dried beans. For an in-depth video explaining how to use the pressure cooker and it’s features visit this video (and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel!).
Makes 3 to 5 servings
1 cup dried beans, soaked 6 to 8 hours
1-inch piece kombu
Filtered water to cover beans
Spices of your choice
Sea salt or tamari
Combine beans and water to cover in the pressure cooker and heat over medium-high flame. Skim off any foam that forms when beans begin to boil. This is a trick to reduce gas and bloating. Add the kombu to the pot. Wet the gasket of the lid and lock it in place. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking times of different beans.
When beans are done, turn off flame and let the pressure come down. Or, if you are in a hurry, you can run cold water over the cooker inside the sink. Stand back if you do this. Unlock lid and remove kombu. Either drain the liquid, then season and add spices, or, if you want the beans more creamy, keep some of the water, season, and continue to cook over low flame in the cooker for a few minutes.
If you are using basic beans in another recipe they probably don’t need any spices added to them. If you plan on having beans as a side dish you can season them depending on what kind of flavor you want or if your meal is a certain ethnicity. Experiment with different spices with different kinds of beans.
What is your favorite way to eat beans?