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
- Pressure Cooker, 6 quarts or larger (I used an Instant Pot Electric PC)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 large beef shanks (1 ½ inches thick, about 2 pounds total)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (about ½ 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
- ½ 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
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 bay leaves
Second dump of spices (optional)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ 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 ½ 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.
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