My grandma bought me a pressure cooker as a wedding gift many moons ago. At first, I was very intimidated by the steam and feared that it might explode every time I used it. I’ve since gotten over those misgivings and count my pressure cooker as maybe my favorite cooking appliance. I use it for all sorts of things, but pressure cooking beans saves me the most time (and money).

We eat a lot of beans around here (insert “breaking wind” joke here), but I don’t like canned beans – they taste a bit too much like the can to me, there are all kinds of chemicals in the can’s lining, and you get much more bang from your buck by buying beans in bulk and making your own. I, however, am notoriously bad about planning ahead, so I often forget to soak the beans the night before when I want to use them for dinner, which is where the pressure cooker comes in. I can cook a pound of black beans for a quick taco night meal in about thirty minutes without any pre-soaking with the pressure cooker. It’s a magical thing.

Smashed Beans
Recipe adapted from The Curvy Carrot

1 pound of pinto beans
1/2 cup onions, diced
1 cup of cheese of your choice (I used half cheddar and half monterrey jack), divided
1 tsp chipotle chili powder (more if you like it spicier)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil

  1. Pressure cooker directions: Add a pound of beans + enough water to cover the beans by about two inches to the pressure cooker. Lock the lid on the cooker and cook on high. Once the pot begins steaming, cook for another 15 minutes at least. Regular directions: Soak the beans for a minimum of four hours, but preferably overnight. Drain the beans. In a large pot with a lid, bring the beans + water to a boil (use triple the amount of water as beans), then let the beans simmer (covered) until the beans are tender. Use this handy chart for bean cooking times.
  2. Drain the beans and reserve some of the cooking liquid. Heat the oil in a large pan. Once the oil shimmers a bit, add the onions and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and chipotle powder and cook briefly. Add the beans into the pan and smash them with a potato masher until they reach your desired consistency. Use the reserved cooking liquid to thin out the beans as needed. After the beans are smashed to your satisfaction, add 3/4 cup of cheese and mix into the beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, garnish the beans with the remaining cheese.

I could eat Mexican food about five days a week, so this is a staple around our house!

Jasper loves it when I use the pressure cooker – he runs back and forth through the steam like so yelling “HOT!” Another added benefit of the pressure cooker: children’s entertainment!