Saturday, September 11, 2010
Speaking of rice, I'm thinking that these beans mixed with some of the leftover rice would make a great lunch tomorrow.
Cooking dried beans up here at high altitude can be a bit challenging. Cooking it in a pot on the stovetop can take too long and require too much attention to make sure the water doesn't boil away. So if I've got a lot of time, I usually cook them in the crockpot.
If I'm time-challenged, the beans have to go into the pressure cooker. Today, I was time challenged. I didn't even have time for soaking - it was just sort, rinse, and cook.
If you're using a pressure cooker, make sure you check the proper timing for cooking beans in your particular cooker - they're not all the same. Undercooking isn't a big deal since you can finish on the stove or re-seal the pressure cooker and go for a few more minutes. But if you overcook, you'd better be planning on refried beans or bean soup.
When you're planning a meal that requires the pressure cooker, keep in mind that the timing starts when the cooker comes up to pressure. And then the top won't come off until the pressure is released. Depending on what sort of pressure cooker you have, that can be quick, or it can take a little longer.
I used an electric pressure cooker for these beans. The pressure doesn't come up as high as with my old stovetop model, but on the plus side, the timing is automatic. I tell it how long to cook and it starts timing when it gets up to pressure and it beeps when its done, so I can ignore it once the food is in. It's also faster to release pressure than my stovetop model. So the cooking can take a little longer, but I gain some time back because I don't have to wait as long to open the lid. It's not a big deal if it's opened at the end of cooking, but if I want to add ingredients in several stages, it's nice to be able to do it quickly.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can make this in a crockpot or on the stove. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly. And if you've got time to soak the beans, you can do that as well.
1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
1 bay leaf
water, to cover by several inches
salt, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon)
2-4 chipotle peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
Put the beans and bay leaf into your pressure cooker with enough water to cover by several inches. Cook on high for half the time necessary to cook the beans, according to the directions for your pressure cooker. Fot the one I used, it was 15 minutes.
Release the pressure, open the pressure cooker, and add the salt, peppers (along with some of the sauce from the can, if desired), onion, and green pepper. Make sure there's enough water to finish the cooking. Seal the pressure cooker and continue cooking until the beans are fully cooked.
Release the pressure, remove the bay leaf, drain, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve.