I got these beautiful beans in my Bean of the Month Club bean box from Rancho Gordo. What, why are you laughing? Doesn’t everyone belong to a Bean of the Month Club? 1
These beautiful Vaquero beans remind me of dairy cows, with their black and white spots. (They’re also called Orca beans for a similar reason…but I’m from Ohio. When I see that pattern, I think cows.)
Beans are one of my favorite things to cook in the pressure cooker. Pressure cooked homemade beans are ready to eat in about an hour, and leave canned beans in the dust. I cook beans a pound at a time, and freeze the leftovers in 2-cup containers. Then, when a recipe calls for a can of beans, I pull out a frozen container, thaw it in the microwave, and have fantastic beans ready to use.
You can soak beans before cooking – it cuts the pressure cooking time dramatically – but I forgot to soak them, and cooked them from dried. (I always forget to soak the beans.) The other trick I’ve learned is to add a teaspoon of salt to the pot with the beans. This is considered a no-no…in old wives tales. My experience is: I get less blown out beans when I add a little salt. And, because salt is added earlier in the cooking, the beans are seasoned more evenly, and need less salt at the end.
Don’t have Vaquero beans? Anasazi or Pinto beans work just as well in this recipe. And, if you are a long-time reader and this technique seems familiar…that’s because it is my Pressure Cooker Beans Basic Technique.
Video: Pressure Cooker Vaquero Beans in Broth – Time Lapse (1:18)
Pressure Cooker Vaquero Beans in Broth – Time Lapse [YouTube.com]
Pressure Cooker Vaquero Beans – beans in broth as a side dish? Simple, delicious, and done in about an hour thanks to the pressure cooker.
- 1 pound Vaquero beans (or substitute Anasazi beans pinto beans)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 onion, peeled and halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups water
- (Optional) Chopped scallions (green onions) for garnish
- Sort and rinse the beans: Sort the pinto beans, removing any broken beans, stones, and dirt clods. Put the beans in a strainer and rinse under running water.
- Pressure cook the beans for 35 minutes: Put the beans in the pressure cooker, sprinkle with the salt, and add the onion and bay leaves to the top. Pour in the 6 cups of water, stir, and then lock the pressure cooker lid. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes in an electric pressure cooker, or 30 minutes in a stovetop PC, then let the heat come down naturally, about 20 minutes.
- Serve: Remove the pressure cooker lid – open it away from you to protect yourself from the hot steam. Discard the bay leaf and onions. If you want a thicker bean broth, puree a cup of beans and broth, then stir back into the pot. (I use a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup and my stick blender to do this.) Sprinkle with chopped scallions and serve…or freeze in 2-cup containers for up to 6 months.
- Soaked beans: In a hurry? Soak the dried beans overnight. The night before cooking, sort the beans, then cover in 8 cups of water. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt if you want to brine them. Let the beans soak overnight, then drain the beans and rinse them right before cooking. Follow the recipe as written, but reduce the pressure cooking time to 15 minutes in an electric PC, and 12 minutes in a stovetop PC, with a natural pressure release.
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)
- 2 cup storage containers (for make-ahead beans.) I use the Pyrex Snapware containers, because they stack neatly in the freezer and are microwave safe. (Just make sure to take the lid off before microwaving, or it will deform in the heat of the microwave.)
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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