The Pressure is On

So far, we are loving the vegetarian thing, but we hadn’t bothered to go pressure cooker yet. We just used canned beans most of the time and dried beans if I was willing to be really really patient.

If you’re like me, you just assumed that those dried beans lasted forever. Guess what. They don’t! Eventually they get to the point where they will never absorb water, they will never soften up and you will never be able to eat those suckers. So, I tossed those kidney beans that expired two years ago, then waited forever for the black beans to soften and cook. In fact, that was the tipping point — it took so long that the beans were eaten the next day.

Magefesa Practika Plus

The magic pot

A search for pressure cooking beans took me to this site, the Vegan Coach, which is terrific! One post and I was sold. I had to have the Magefesa. Several of the reviews warned about the manual. Apparently, the Magefesa is made in Spain, so the manual translation was supposed to be terrible. So, I bought the pressure cooking vegetarian cookbook recommended by several of the reviewers.

The cooker came within several days. The cookbook, I hope will show up on Monday. (Update: I got it and it looks absolutely amazing and extremely helpful.) And the manual? I should have been so lucky to have a bad translation. It was entirely in Spanish!

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait for the cookbook. First, there was an English manual on the Magefesa USA site. And second, the Vegan Coach had fabulous, clear instructions on how to cook beans.

Leery of the “trial and error” that had been warned in the reviews, I put in 6 cups of water to my 2 cups of beans, sealed the lid and heated that puppy up. It only took a couple of minutes for the pressure indicator to pop up. I set the timer for 10 minutes and didn’t panic from the wheeze the pot made as it did its thing. Then, I removed it from the heat and made a mistake: I released the pressure. Don’t do this! First, it turns out that the beans still cook while you wait for the pressure to release, which meant my beans weren’t really cooked. Second, it blew steam all over the place. I had to wipe down the counters and mop the floor! So, I sealed the lid again, got the pressure back up, cooked for another 2 minutes and then turned the pressure down to the low setting. Less than 10 minutes later, the pressure indicator was down and the beans were ready! Even with the cooking them twice, the beans were still done before the brown rice.

Beans

Cooked in no time at all

So, what did I do with my beans? I chopped up an onion and a green pepper and a couple of cloves of garlic. (BTW, I bought this ceramic garlic grater spoon? It’s amazing.) I sauteed that in a little olive oil along with a small shake of crushed red pepper, a good teaspoon or two of Adobo, the same amount of cumin and a fair amount of oregano. (Sorry, I rarely measure spices, lazy.) Once the onions were translucent, I added two peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes. A minute or two later, I tossed in the beans, along with the rest of the jar of pizza sauce leftover from earlier in the week and a few tablespoons of green salsa sitting in the fridge. That was it. By then the rice was done.

I served that along with some cornbread I made from the Smith Mills in Anderson. (Regional folks: you can buy at select Ingles.) I confess I didn’t have buttermilk or even cow’s milk at all, so I used almond milk. Was it ideal? Nah, but everyone ate it with gusto anyway. It just wasn’t as pretty as it could have been. I did do the usual swapping out half the oil with applesauce that I usually do with quick breads and everyone liked that too.

I can’t wait to get my cookbook and see what else I can make in my new magic pot! Now I have a pot to make things super slow and a pot to make things super fast. And I can’t wait to use the far healthier and much cheaper dried beans as well.

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10 thoughts on “The Pressure is On

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      That is incredibly kind! I promise I will get back to it. Life after October got really nutty. I should blog about that, I suppose, except some of it was kind of sensitive and certainly not food-related. And, I’m hoping my life calms down a bit. Thanks so much for reading!

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