This video is a long time in the making. After years of hearing fears, urban legends and other general belly aching about pressure cookers, I decided it was time enough to put this silliness to rest and demonstrate how truly easy it is to make awesome food using a pressure cooker. I assure you, I’m not the most mechanically inclined person so if I can do this, you can too.

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My own pressure cooker of choice is an electric counter top model that also acts as a slow cooker and a rice cooker.

Lorna Sass is the pressure cooking queen. This book is a must-have.

Here is a bean cooking chart. I’d like to note that I never presoak my beans and they always turn out fine.

For Christmas this year, one of my brothers got me a lovely array of spices from our family’s favorite place- Penzey’s. He went through the store looking for spices he’d never heard of before and gave them to me on the condition that I had to make up recipes with them. This weekend I made the most amazing pinto beans using one of the spices, epazote, with the help of my pressure cooking friend.

Sorta Slow-Cooked Pintos
In a world were most veggie burritos are filled with black beans in place of the typically-bacon-laden pinto variety, these tasty beans are a welcome smoky and delicious treat. Eat them rolled up in a tortilla or on top of a bed of brown rice, topped with your favorite salsa and some guacamole. The “slow” cooking method provides lots of time for the flavor to build. Bueno!

1 cup dried pintos
3-4 cups water
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. liquid smoke
1 tbsp. epazote (or use 2 teas. oregano)
1-2 teas. cumin

In your pressure cooker, combine the pintos, water and a teaspoon of the oil. Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure then release beans using a quick release method. Drain and rinse and then set aside. In the bottom of your pressure cooker pot, saute an the onion in the remaining oil. Cook until onion is translucent. Add the soy sauce, liquid smoke, epazote and cumin and stir well, cooking until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and just enough water to come about halfway up the beans (about a cup and a half). Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, covered (like a regular pot, not bringing it to pressure) for about an hour to two hours, until tender and fragrant.

Alternatively, after sauteeing everything, you can bring the full recipe back up to pressure for about 5 minutes. Release from pressure using the quick release method and then let the beans cool for 20 minutes before serving, to help the flavor develop. I personally prefer the slow cook method, as it lets the beans really absorb and develop the flavor.

Serves 7-8

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12 Responses to pressure cookin’!

  1. Hi there,
    Thanks for the video. I just put the book on hold from the library. I agree… the amount of sodium in canned beans make me cringe, but they are convenient. I would like to get a pressure cooker though. I’m going to check out some different models on amazon.

    Be well,

    • Kris says:

      Hi Carloyn- thanks for stopping by!

      What’s great about beans is that they freeze really well, so if you cook en masse, you can freeze portions for later and then you don’t have to worry about cans! But yes, they are convenient, it’s very true. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t use some beans from cans.

  2. Josiane says:

    Thanks for the video! In her pressure cooker, Mom only ever cooked one specific thing that we only ate a couple of times a year, and that was when I was a kid (she later started cooking that thing in a regular pot). So at the time, what I took away was that this pressure-cooking thing was complicated and potentially dangerous… and that stuck with me, no matter what people would say about it not being the case. Seeing your video greatly helped reassure that part of me, and I may consider getting one. Seriously, beans ready in a matter of minutes? That’s really tempting!

  3. Tonto Yoder says:

    Thanks Kris,
    One other thing about cooking dried beans (IMO) is that you can vary the
    firmness of the cooked bean. I love homemade hummus made by manually smashing al dente garbanzos rather than pureeing canned beans into a mushy blend.
    I like the texture of my hummus much better than anything I’ve ever bought.

  4. Ana says:

    GREAT video! I feel so silly now for having worried about the Big Bad Pressure Cooker. :-) I’m already pricing them out and thinking about purchasing one. I make my own beans already, but I have to soak them overnight and then cook them for 1 1/2 hours. Twenty minutes sounds FABULOUS! One last thing: can I say that watching the video reminded me that I miss you? Maybe I’ll take a road trip sometime soon …

    • Kris says:

      Aw, thanks Ana! Yes, road trip! It’s only about 1hr 45min when it’s not a rush hour time. It’s a quick trip!

  5. Vegyogini says:

    Thanks for the awesome video, Kris! I’ve had a stove-top model for years and still haven’t been brave enough to try it. I feel a lot more comfortable after watching your tutorial.

  6. Amanda N says:

    Thank you for the video! All I’ve made so far in my pressure cooker (the electric one that you have) is brown rice. I’m so excited to branch out now and make beans! :)

  7. I love cooking beans in my pressure cooker, I think it saves so much money compared to buying canned versions of beans (and definitely tastes better!) I love your recipes on here, thanks so much for sharing with the world!