If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this pandemic, it’s that people inherently know the things they need to do, in order to survive. I’ve seen countless veggie and herb gardens pop up on my feed, much the same with bread making. Another skill that is incredibly useful (not to mention, insanely economical) is learning to cook dried beans. Today, it’s the humble pinto.
Being vegan, I have strong opinions on pinto beans. On one hand, they are delicious, but often in restaurants, half of the time, they contain lard. I know that putting lard in the beans is what your grandma did, and your mother now does too, but they can still be delicious without the lard, I promise.
In addition to omitting the lard, they also don’t have to take all day to cook. Just a little 5 hour soak the day before, combined with a trusty pressure cooker, you’ll have beans on the table in 20 minutes.
When I first got my pressure cooker, I knew that the first thing I had to do, was cook some BEANS! It’s so fast, even if you don’t soak them, but soaked, they’re done in literally minutes. This recipe is for a double batch, because when we cook beans in this house, if we only do one cup of dried, it runs out so fast! The onions and garlic melt away into the broth, and the tomatoes, and jalapenos add such a depth of flavor and spice – they’re irresistible!
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Pinto Beans (Refried)
Making pinto beans from scratch rewards you with remarkable flavor.
- 2 Cups Pinto Beans dry
- 1½ Cups Onion cut into large chunks
- 6 Cloves Garlic smashed
- 1-2 Jalapenos or 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce. Adjust to your heat level.
- 1½ Teaspoons Salt
- 2 Cups Tomato fresh, diced
Soak pinto beans in double the water for at least 5 hours, or overnight. It’s fine to keep the beans on the counter for the 5 hours, but if you’re going to soak them overnight, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator.
Drain the beans, and rinse. Place in a pressure cooker, add enough water just until the beans are fully submerged. Add in onion, garlic, and jalapenos or hot sauce. Put the lid on the pressure cooker, turn heat up to high, and monitor until the kettle comes to pressure. When the kettle comes to pressure, set a timer for 6 minutes, and turn the heat to low. When time is up, turn the heat off, and let the beans naturally release the pressure.
Once the kettle is de-pressurized, remove the lid carefully as the condensation on the under-side of the lid will be very hot! Add in the salt and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Check beans for done-ness. If they are not soft enough for you, return the lid, and turn heat to high, repeat the pressurizing process by letting the kettle get up to pressure, set the timer for 2 minutes, turn heat to low. Release naturally again. Remove from heat, and serve!
For Slow Cooker
Put all ingredients except salt and tomato in the slow cooker, and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours. If you cook them low, and slow, they are less likely to burst, and will remain whole. On high, they may lose their shape, and burst. If you’re going to be making refried beans or bean dip, you’ll be less concerned about the beans keeping their shape.
For Refried Beans
Take your cooked pinto beans, and mash them with a potato masher.
For Bean Dip
Puree Beans in a blender.