Everything I know about New Orleans comes from television. The mystery of the week set in the French Quarter, Justin Wilson on PBS, and pregame shots of the Superdome parking lot, with tailgaters chanting “Who dat!” while stirring kettles of red beans. 1
I don’t let that stop me from celebrating New Orleans every Fat Tuesday. Why would I pass up the chance to cook from one of America’s great regional cuisines? But, there is one creole recipe I make year round, not just on Mardi Gras – pressure cooker red beans and rice. 2
Under pressure, red beans and rice are done in about an hour, perfect for both Fat Tuesday and a regular Tuesday after work. All I have to do is sort and soak the beans before I go to bed the night before. (If I forget, I can cook the beans without soaking, but it will take a little more than an hour to get dinner on the table.)
No pressure cooker? No worries. See the Notes section for stovetop instructions.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Red Beans and Rice
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot Electric PC)
Beans and soaking
- 1 pound red kidney beans, sorted and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound smoked sausage (preferably andouille), quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch wedges
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or dried thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or fine sea salt)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or fine sea salt)
- 5 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked long grain white rice
- Minced parsley
- Minced green onions
- Hot sauce (Tabasco)
- Soak the beans: Soak the beans overnight: Sort the kidney beans, removing broken beans, stones, and dirt clods. Rinse the beans, put them in a large container with the tablespoon of salt, and cover with 2 quarts water. Let the beans soak overnight (at least 8 hours).
- Sauté the aromatics and sausage: Heat the oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the smoked sausage, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, and sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute, stirring often, until the onions ans sausage are brown around the edges, about 8 minutes.
- Pressure cook the beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Pour the beans into the pressure cooker, add the bay leaves and 1 teaspoon of salt, and then stir in the water. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes in an electric PC or 12 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure release naturally, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot.
- Thicken and serve: Discard the bay leaves. Ladle out 2 cups of the beans and bean liquid, puree, and pour back into the pot. (I do this in a quart measuring cup with my stick blender.) If you have time, simmer uncovered for another fifteen minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve.
- Forgot to soak? Increase the water to 6 cups and cook the beans at high pressure for 35 minutes (45 minutes electric PC).
- The downside to the pressure cooker is the sealed environment – there is no evaporation, so the bean liquid comes out kind of thin. That’s why I puree a copule cups of beans and liquid; stirring them back into the pot thickens up the bean broth nicely.
- No pressure cooker? No worries. Increase the water to 8 cups, and follow the directions, cooking everything in a 6 quart or larger heavy dutch oven. Instead of locking the lid and pressure cooking, bring the pot of beans to a boil, then reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. Continue with the thicken and serve step.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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