When I wrote about cooking beans from scratch a few weeks ago, I got some helpful input from readers that cooking beans in a pressure cooker might be more efficient than cooking them on the stove top. Additionally, I have read numerous posts from JL about her experiences using this appliance to make easy, delicious-sounding recipes (she even has a whole section of pressure-cooker recipes!).
I was first introduced to the pressure-cooker a few years ago in one of my food science classes. My professor at the time raved about her experiences which prompted me to buy one. The problem was that I got the stove-top version that was so noisy and violent-sounding that I was always nervous something would go awry and the top was going to blow off and cause me massive bodily harm.
That version went to Goodwill pretty fast. Then, I saw the electric version at Costco about a year or so ago and decided to try it again. While it is still fairly noisy and anxiety-producing for me when it is coming up to full pressure, it is A LOT easier to use than the stove-top version. (If you haven’t ever used one, I would encourage you to read the directions carefully just to make sure you use it right.)
I still have never used mine consistently and decided to give it another go last night, this time cooking the beans and vegetables together to make a one-pot meal. I had two cups of beans that I had soaked overnight.
After draining and rinsing the beans, I poured them into the pressure cooker pot. Next, I gathered my vegetables. two small heads of cabbage and one large onion:
I chopped them up into large chunks and put them on top of the beans in the pot. My last ingredients were about a half-teaspoon of garlic powder and a tablespoon of dried oregano. I also added about four cups of water or enough to cover the beans.
I set that baby on high pressure for eight minutes and look what happened…
Dinner!!! The beans were tender but not overcooked and the veggies were soft. I made a very simple topping of tahini mixed with lemon juice and served the mixture over some leftover brown rice:
I am so happy I tried using the pressure cooker again and can’t wait to put together some real recipes. My first big change would be to only use one cup of dried beans instead of two to leave room for more vegetables. This experience is very exciting because I am fully aware of how busy life can be and this is one way to make a healthy meal with a tiny bit of planning and minutes of preparation (although you have to allow time for the cooker to heat up and cool down). What about you…have you used the pressure cooker and are you as enamored as I am?
P.S. While I have admittedly fallen in love with my pressure cooker after last night’s experience, I maintain a healthy fear of it until further notice.