I have been using pressure cookers for years now, and I still don’t understand why they are not more popular. Energy efficient and a huge time saver, pressure cookers are the go-to tool for people like me. People like me, meaning those of us who don’t have it together enough to prep slow cooker meals before work. You may have heard horror stories about exploding pressure cookers, but those issues don’t apply to modern models thanks to safety updates. I can throw some stew meat, veggies, etc. into a pressure cooker and make a terrific beef stew in under an hour, make risotto in 7 minutes or even make a quickie chicken stock. But my new favorite pressure cooker recipe is for homemade refried beans using only one pot. No pre-soaking your beans required!
Not familiar with pressure cookers? They are lidded pots with a locking mechanism that allows pressure to build inside, cooking your food very quickly. (HipPressure Cooking has a great FAQ that you should check out.) You may have heard stories of exploding pressure cookers, but that is a thing of the past. Modern slow cookers have multiple built-in safety mechanisms, so they are very safe. Planning to cook something in your slow cooker? Pressure cooking does the same job, but in a fraction of the time. And unlike a slow cooker, you can brown all of your ingredients in the same pot.
I’m kind of obsessed with refried beans, but the canned version just can’t compete with the real thing. And by real thing, I mean homemade. Keep in mind that this will not give you the same beans that you find in Mexican restaurants, but something equally tasty. Restaurant-style refried beans frequently have lard, and while that is delicious, I stick with oil at home. Cooking the beans at high pressure for around 45 minutes is enough to make them soft and smashable. The key is to reserve the cooking liquid for thinning out the pureed beans. The flavor in the cooking liquid is too good to lose, but it also important to save for any beans that you may want to freeze. I like to strain the beans over a large bowl, but save the liquid the easiest way possible for you. Smash the beans until they are the texture that you like, adding 1/4 cup of cooking liquid if needed. Use an immersion blender if you like them very smooth. Fry up some onions, garlic and a whole jalapeno for some flavor, add the beans, and you are ready to eat!
These beans are perfect for Taco Night, but I love them with a garnish of pico de gallo, queso fresco and tortilla chips. Or just rolled up in a tortilla with a little cheese. Or by the spoonful.
A few things you should know about pressure cooking, once you have read the manual and know how to use it.
- You need liquid, otherwise you will not get the steam needed to build pressure. ¼ – ½ a cup is usually enough, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- You will need to adjust your seasoning at the end of your cooking time. I don’t understand why, but sometimes the flavors get weak after cooking in the pressure cooker.
- You need to follow the directions about quick release or natural release of pressure. Not following directions can cause your food to be overcooked or undercooked, just like any other cooking method.
About dried beans: A pound of beans is a lot, but they freeze beautifully. Freeze the solid beans along with their liquid and they will be ready to go next time you have time to fry them up. Also, older beans will take longer to cook. A bag that has been sitting in the back of your pantry for years will take a lot longer to cook than a bag fresh from the store. Plan accordingly.
Are you excited now? Psyched and ready to go? Let’s do this!
|Pressure Cooker Refried Beans|| |
- 1 lb dried pinto beans
- 8 cups of water
- ½ onion diced as finely as possible
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno
- ¼ cup neutral oil, plus more if needed for frying in batches.
- salt to taste
- queso fresco for garnish
- Carefully sort through beans to check for any rocks, dirt, anything gross (I've never seen anything in my beans, but better safe than sorry, right?)
- Rinse beans and put in pressure cooker.
- Top with water.
- Bring pressure cooker up to full pressure and cook for about 35 minutes.
- Turn off heat and allow pressure to release naturally.
- If beans have not softened, bring them back up to a boil and simmer until soft.
- Strain beans from the pressure cooker while reserving the cooking liquid.
- Heat oil in the base of the pressure cooker.
- Add onions and jalapeno, and fry until the onions dark and crispy.
- Add garlic and stir for about a minute, or until the garlic softens and becomes fragrant.
- Remove the jalapeno and add the beans along with about a ½ cup of cooking liquid.
- Use a potato masher to work the beans until are at the desired texture.
- Add small quantities of additional cooking liquid if needed. (Remember, it is easy to add more liquid but a lot harder to take remove it.)
- Add salt to taste.
- Allow the beans to fry in the onion mixture.
- Serve hot, topped with queso fresco, along with tortilla chips.
If you are interested in more pressure cooker recipes, let me know by leaving a comment. Pin It