Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner
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Pressure Cooker Beef Shank and Anasazi Beans

I’m horrified that pressure cookers were used in the attacks at the Boston Marathon. How dare they use my favorite pot for such evil? I almost skipped this recipe. It’s hard to reconcile comfort food with such terrible news. I had to remember, this is what the perpetrators want – to change the way we go about our daily lives. This post is dedicated to the brave people of Boston.

I’m using the spoils of my recent trip to the West Side Market – beef shanks and a big bag of dried Anasazi beans. I didn’t plan this recipe, I just put the beans and beef shanks on the counter and pulled items out of the pantry to go with them. The result a big donut of meat, with a wonderful nugget of marrow in the middle, on a bed of brothy beans. Why didn’t I try this sooner?

I’m also cheating – instead of browning all the shanks, I’m browning one batch, on one side. This gives me browned fond on the bottom of the pot to build flavor, without taking twenty minutes to brown all the shanks. You won’t miss the extra browning – there’s enough fond developed in one batch of browning to flavor the pot.

Don’t have a pressure cooker? No worries. See the Notes section for standard cooking instructions.

Anasazi beans? They’re like their close relative, pinto beans. They have a deeper, meatier taste, and they look a lot cooler, with a neat cow spotted effect. (Until you cook them, that is – the cow spots fade as the beans simmer.)

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Beef Shank and Anasazi Beans

Inspired by: Lorna Sass Pressure Perfect

Cooking time: 60 minutes




  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 large beef shanks (1 1/2 inches thick, about 2 pounds total)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (about 1/2 teaspoon per shank)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Aromatics and spices

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles (or 1 green (Anaheim) chile, seeded and diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder blend (or ancho chile powder)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Beans and liquid

  • 1 pound Anasazi beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock (or store bought broth, or water)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 bay leaves

Second dump of spices (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • More salt and pepper to taste


1. Brown the beef shanks

Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. While the oil is heating, sprinkle the shanks with 2 teaspoons of salt and the black pepper. Add a single layer of shanks to the pan and brown them on one side, about 5 minutes. Transfer the browned shanks to a bowl with the rest of the uncooked shanks and set aside.

2. Saute the aromatics and toast the spices

Add the onion, bell pepper, green chile, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Stir to coat with oil, then saute, scraping the browned meat from the bottom of the pot, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Make a hole in the center of the onions and add 2 tablespoons of chili powder and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Let the spices sit until you smell them frying, about 1 minute, then stir them into the onions and peppers.

3. Beans, liquid, and beef into the pot

Stir in the rinsed Anasazi beans, coating with the onions and spices. Add the chicken stock, water, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, baking soda, and bay leaves. Stir to mix, then add the beef shanks and any juices from the bowl. Nestle the beef shanks into the beans and liquid, submerging them as much as possible.

4. Pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes (36 minutes for electric PC)

Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring it up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes (36 minutes in an electric pressure cooker), then turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure.

5. Season and serve

Stir in the second dump of spices, then taste for seasoning. If you used homemade chicken broth or water, you will need more salt – I usually add close to a tablespoon of kosher salt for this much liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.
How do I serve this? I gently transfer the beef shanks to a platter. Using a slotted spoon, I scoop out a bowlful of beans for each diner. I add enough bean liquid to moisten, but not cover, the beans, then put a beef shank on top. Done.


  • No pressure cooker? No worries. Use a heavy bottomed dutch oven with a lid, and increase the amount of water to 4 cups. Follow the instructions until step 4, “Pressure cook on high…”. Then, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil, and cover with the lid. Move the pot to a preheated 350*F oven and bake for 2 hours, until the beef shanks and beans are tender. Continue with step 5, “Season and serve”.
  • Beef and beans make amazing leftovers. Shred the beef (discard the bones) and stir into the beans. I freeze it in two cup containers for quick-grab lunches.
  • What’s it like to be a pressure cooker fan over the last two weeks? Sigh. Check out these stories with Lorna Sass and Laura at the HipPressureCooking forum.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Pressure Cooker Osso Bucco
Pressure Cooker Refried Pinto Beans
Click here for my other pressure cooker recipes.

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Gary Dahl says

    Wow, that was delicious! Appreciate the introduction to anasazi beans, and the leftover idea sounds great. Everything went smoothly, but I will reduce the salt a bit next time.

  2. Bill says

    This recipe is sooooo good I want to double the recipe next time! Any problem with that? Extra cooking time?

  3. michael statland says

    Hey Mike!
    We’re so much on the same page in cooking using a pressure cooker! Ive been using a stovetop PC for 30 years, recently went to an Instant Pot.

    On your beef shank/anasazi recipe, I was wondering if meaty smoked ham hocks would be a good substitute for the beef shanks? Your thoughts on this please.

  4. Orb Thompson says

    Seriously Mike, do keep an eye out for the bolita’s. I have both the anasazi and bolita beans shipped to me here in Kansas from Adobe Milling. They are definitely worth it. Like Charlie says the bolitas really absorb the flavors from whatever they are cooked with.

  5. It is somewhere between mild and medium heat. Green chiles are a little spicy, bun not as hot as, say, jalapeño peppers. Use your best judgement – if you want to sub in green bell pepper (no heat) or jalapeños (more heat), go for it,

  6. One more thing, how would you categorize the spiciness of this dish? I’ve never worked with canned green chilies before and I love chile flavor, but I have other palettes I have to consider (I’m sure you do too).

  7. I really like anasazi beans. They’re grown in southwestern Colorado mostly, which are my stomping grounds from way back, and I’ve stopped many times at Adobe Milling in Dove Creek, CO for a bag of anasazi beans. Adobe also sells a heirloom bean called the bolita, which is small and creamy-textured and absorbs flavor really well – it’s worth getting a sack shipped to you, you’d dig ’em.

    Charlie @ The Cooking Animal

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