So we had a cold day here and I happened to look at the weather forecast in time, and I had a pound of black beans on hand, so I decided to make black bean soup. I soaked the beans for approximately 24 hours (draining the bean soaking liquid into my garden) and then added the soaked beans to the pressure cooker, added water and spices to the level of the beans, which made it just to the halfway mark on my 4-quart Presto pressure cooker, and put it on the induction burner to heat at 212 degrees. After four minutes it was simmering, so I increased the heat to 284 degrees and put on the lid. It took about seven minutes to come up to pressure, then I reduced the heat to 248 degrees and set the timer for four minutes.
And here's the result:
Yep, perfectly cooked, tender beans. I have the feeling I'm going to be doing a lot more of this this winter!
So those of you who have been following my adventures in pressure cooking know that I have tried pasta in sauce to great effect. Well, last week I acquired an induction burner, so you know I had to try this out!
First off, let me say that the dish turned out exactly as I intended. I had read about pressure cookers and induction burners earlier, so I chopped mushrooms and opened the jar of sauce (okay, I was in a hurry to get dinner done). I added oil and turned the burner on. In 15 seconds the oil was hot, and I sauteed the mushrooms. That took about a minute.
Then I turned off the burner to add sauce, pasta, water, and wine. I stirred the pasta for a bit until it was all coated with the sauce, then turned the burner on to 248 degrees F and let it go until the sauce was bubbling, stirring all the while. When the sauce started to simmer (about a minute) I popped on the lid and turned the burner to 284F. The pot took about four minutes to come up to pressure, and then I turned off the burner and waited.
At the end I stirred in some leftover kale salad and here is the result:
Well, it was good enough that I'm eating the leftovers for breakfast!
So, a point: the food gets hot really fast, so have your prep all done first. If you don't, be prepared to turn off the burner and wait. I always used the heating the pot time to do my prep, but there isn't any heating the pot time.
Also, I just used the minimum heat necessary to get the pressure. Anything more is overkill. Many of us start the pan off screaming hot and then turn down the heat. Instead, set the temperature on your induction burner to just enough to bring the pot to pressure. After all, the food needs time to cook; especially with foods that have to absorb liquid, give it that little extra time.
It's Lent, which means no meat or dairy, which means pasta, among other things. And once I experimented with cooking pasta in its sauce, and then I got a pressure cooker, well, you can guess the next step: pressure cooker pasta in sauce.
Sorry, I was hungry and forgot to take pictures. Next time.
First off: yes, it works. I used Kroger whole grain pasta; a can of diced tomatoes; some seasonings; a little wine (because it was a weekend, and I'm trying to use up the last of a box); and a little water.
Of course I had made a few attempts already that had gone wrong, so here's what worked. In the stovetop, I added pasta, diced tomatoes, seasonings (in that order) and then filled up the cooker with wine and water until the level of the liquid was almost to the top of the pasta.
I turned on the electric burner, set the cooker on it, and let the liquid reach a fast simmer, stirring all the while. When the liquid reached a fast simmer, I put on the lid. Once the cooker had reached full pressure I let it go about a minute and turned off the heat and walked away, leaving the cooker on the burner.
When the lid unlocked, I had perfectly-cooked pasta in sauce. Total burner time: 6 minutes.
This may not seem like much of a big deal, but with summer coming, you don't want to heat up the house, so instead of waiting for a pot of water to boil, and then cooking pasta for another 8 minutes, and cooking sauce in a separate pan, you'll be reducing your cooling bills significantly. And while this method may not be any faster (you still need the cool-down time), it's a lot less hands-on.