How does a pressure cooker help get dinner on the table on a weeknight? Here's a perfect example. I wanted a hearty pressure cooker turkey chili for a cold winter night. This recipe came together from my pantry and freezer; all the ingredients are things I keep on hand, just in case.
I have fallen head over heels in love with pre-soaked beans from my pressure cooker. In the past, I couldn't be bothered to pre-soak my beans. I have to think ahead to pre-soak beans; it too much effort. *The thinking is the effort, not the sorting. Sorting beans for pre-soaking takes five minutes. I would just not remember at all, get home, and say "darn it!"
But then, I tried the Cooks Illustrated suggestion of brining my beans while they pre-soak. While testing that approach, I found out how quickly the beans are done cooking when pre-soaked; instead of thirty to forty minutes, they're done in ten to twelve. That meant I could cook the beans with my other ingredients, and have a bean stew ready in under a half an hour of cooking time. And the brined beans had a depth of flavor that I couldn't seem to get, no matter how much salt I added at the end of cooking. Since I put these ideas together a few months back, I have remembered to soak my beans. The results have been good enough for me to overcome my inherent laziness! Now I make bean soups, stews, and chilis about once a week. They are the perfect dinners for fall and winter.
This recipe was inspired by the recent "Our Favorite Chili" recipe in Cooks Illustrated, where they brine their beans and add cocoa powder to the spice blend to add an earthy depth to the chili. I didn't go with their full-on version (chunks of beef, spice paste made of dried chiles instead of chili powder) because this was a Tuesday night dinner, and it needed to be done quickly.
*I need to try the spice paste made out of dried chiles. Both CI and Kenji Alt have recommended it. But again, Tuesday dinner. Not the time to go whole hog.
Do you have a pressure cooker, and the presence of mind to soak beans before you leave for work? Here's a weeknight chili recipe for you.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Turkey Chili with Chorizo and Pinto Beans
Inspired By: Our Favorite Chili, Cooks Illustrated Magazine Jan/Feb 2011
Cook time: 35 minutes
- Pressure cooker, at least 6 quarts (bigger is better, like my giant Kuhn Rikon 12-quart pressure cooker)
Pressure Cooker Turkey Chili with Chorizo and Pinto Beans recipe. Turkey bean chili, with a hint of heat and spice from chorizo.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
- 4 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 tablespoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound chorizo, casing removed (uncooked Mexican style chorizo, not cooked Spanish style)
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano (preferably mexican oregano)
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 3 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade) or water
- 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- Juice of 2 limes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brine the beans: 8 hours before cooking (or overnight), sort and rinse the pinto beans, then cover with 4 quarts water and add the salt. Soak the beans at room temperature until it is time to cook, then drain and rinse.
- Cook the sausage and saute the aromatics: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat until shimmering, then add the chorizo. Cook the chorizo, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the pressure cooker. Saute the onions and garlic until softened, and the chorizo is starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Toast the spices and cook the turkey: Make a hole in the center of the onion/chorizo mix, and add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cocoa powder. Let sit for 30 seconds, then stir until evenly mixed. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring, until the turkey just loses its pink color, about 5 more minutes.
- Pressure cook the chili: Stir the pinto beans into the pot, then pour in the chicken stock. Increase the heat to high, then scrape the bottom of the pot thoroughly, loosening any browned bits into the chili. Pour the crushed tomatoes on top. (Do not stir; the tomatoes will burn if they get to the bottom of the pot.) Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring the cooker up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 12 minutes in a stovetop PC/15 minutes in an electric PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. (Even with the brined beans, I usually need another teaspoon or two of salt.)
- Prep Time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
*Don't have a pressure cooker? Cook the recipe in a dutch oven. In step 3, instead of pressure cooking on high, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Then cover the pot and move it to a 350*F oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, and season to taste.
*Even quicker pressure cooker chili: If you have pre-cooked beans, you can use them instead of dried. Skip the brining step, and cook the chili for only 4 minutes under high pressure.
*Increase the heat: The chorizo and chili powder will add a medium heat level to the chili. If you want more firepower, add a teaspoon of cayenne with the spices, or a couple of diced jalapeno peppers with the aromatics.
*I like to serve this chili Cincinnati style. Serve on top of pasta, then top with diced raw onions and shredded cheddar cheese.
*As with most stews and chilis, this recipe freezes well. I freeze it in 2 cup containers for future lunches.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Our Favorite Chili, Cooks Illustrated Magazine Jan/Feb 2011
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