I hope you had time between last week and this to make all my salads. Well, maybe you at least printed off a few recipes and are thinking in terms of trying one or two.
If not, could be you’re freezing cold and ready for a fast hot meal of beans and meat in the Instant Pot (Did you get one for Christmas?), which of course could be done in a Dutch oven, a slow cooker, or in a B-flat pot on the stove top should you so choose.
Be that as it may, I had a swell afternoon figuring this puppy out literally, though I had thought over the recipe for a few days and had even written out a first copy–now sadly and happily marked up in red (above) so that you have a workable method.
Scroll down for a list of my favorite electric pressure cooker books.
below: happy in Montepulciano
Having spent a little time in Tuscany last fall, I’ve thought it over and I don’t think we ate any beans except chickpeas, though I rarely photograph food in restaurants. Below–a memorable exception in a winery in Montalcino, where they served the antipasti and the primi courses together and I snapped a couple of pics.
Eating only chickpeas might have made me all the more convinced I needed to come home and make some real white beans, though I’m not sure I thought about it until now–3 months later. I never met a bean I didn’t like, though.
below: my INSTANT POT Bacon Pintos
Beans are terribly and completely healthy (low in fat, high-high in fiber, fiber, fiber, oh–and protein–and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium), inexpensive, easy to make (can’t ruin them), available everywhere, cooked in most cultures, remind me of my childhood, and are nearly a blank slate for whatever you’d like to do to them. They’re a great big, filling soup element, but serve admirably well mashed with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil served up on grilled bread. You can lay a tuna fillet on top of a cup or two for a lovely dinner with wine or stir canned tuna and onions into a can of them for a quick lunch. Did I say they stay in the cupboard forever? Well, they do get old eventually and you’ll know they’re old if they also take forever to get tender. And they’re comforting, too. A big mess
on the stove in the Instant Pot bubbling away will welcome the stranger in you back to your own pot of goodness. Try this:
INSTANT POT: TUSCAN BEANS WITH SAUSAGE, CHICKEN, AND GREENS
Chop everything first to make the cooking go a bit smoother. If there are two of you, have one do the vegetables and the other the sausage and chicken. See SOAKING? (below) for info on soaking or not soaking beans. This dish is fairly brothy and great for sopping up with crusty bread. Take out a cup or two, mash it up, and return it to the pot if you’d like a thicker bowlful.
- 3 links Italian sausage, sweet or hot, sliced and then diced into 1/2-inch pieces (can sub Italian turkey sausage)
- 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (can sub boneless chicken breasts, but cook them separately until cooked through in a skillet and add at the end with the greens)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 fresh sage leaves, minced (can sub 1 teaspoon dried sage)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary–rubbed and crumbled between your fingers
- Handful of fresh parsley, minced
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 pound dry cannellini (or navy or great northern) beans, sorted and soaked overnight*
- 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups water — or more as needed to cover beans in pot
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach, arugula, or shredded kale
- Extra virgin olive oil for garnish
- Red wine vinegar for garnish
Select SAUTÉ on the Instant Pot and adjust to NORMAL. When hot, drizzle in olive oil evenly and when the oil is hot, add the sausage and chicken pieces. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until lightly browned; add onion. Cook, stirring, another 3 or 4 minutes, or until meats are cooked through and onion is softened. Stir in garlic, sage, rosemary, parsley and crushed red pepper; sauté for another minute. Press CANCEL.
Add beans, tomatoes, water, salt, and pepper; stir. Make sure beans are completely covered with liquid (add a little water if needed) and that you haven’t filled the pot more than 2/3 full as the beans expand while cooking. Secure lid on the pot. Close pressure release valve.
Select MANUAL and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Use a natural release to depressurize. (If beans aren’t done, pressure cook for another 3 minutes or so, do a quick release, and check again.) If desired, spoon off extra fat at top of pot. Stir in greens, replace lid, and let rest for 10 minutes or until greens are softened. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot in warmed bowls with a drizzle each of olive oil and red wine vinegar. When done serving, press CANCEL.
Cook’s Notes: If you don’t like the idea of oil and vinegar for garnish (though I think it just makes the dish), consider instead freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and an extra grate or two of black pepper. LEFTOVERS: Reheat stove top or in microwave and be sure to season the dish again with a little more salt and pepper. You might even need a little more water. The chilling and storage process causes the beans to lose a tish of flavor and to soak up the broth.
- SOAKING? You can also do a quick soak: Cover beans with water in a medium-large pot, cover, heat over on stove over high heat and boil for 2 minutes, then let rest an hour. Drain before cooking. Another option is to pressure cook the beans for one minute, cancel cooking, and let rest an hour before beginning recipe. You can skip soaking your beans, but do increase the pressure cooking time to 20 minutes and check for doneness. Folk wisdom tells us soaked beans help prevent flatulence. See what you think.
WINE: A Tuscan red, right?! A Chianti Classico would work, but might be a tad big for this, unless that’s all you can find–in which case, open it! I am, however, thinking a Montepulciano could drink more smoothly. These come in a variety of price points and most of them are tasty; no need to overspend.
ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKING COOKBOOKS I LIKE
If you’re looking for a pressure cooker cookbook, you might check out the following choices–my current favorites– listed in alphabetical order by title.
COMFORT IN AN INSTANT: 75 COMFORT FOOD RECIPES FOR YOUR PRESSURE COOKER, MULTICOOKER, + INSTANT POT-– (Clarkson Potter, 2018, 160p)– Melissa Clark’s second and newest tasty and entertaining hardback addition to the ever-growing list of books available on the subject. While it still Includes basics like buying tips, “Getting to Know Your Pressure Cooker,” and a slew of yummy chicken dishes, this newer book also goes upscale with recipes like, “French Beef Daube with Olives” and “Breakfast Polenta with Dried Apricots + Cinnamon,” and “Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake,” for those who’ve moved past the first base or two of electric pressure cooking. Each recipe can be made in 60 minutes, start to finish. Captivating photographs by Christopher Testani. Included on the list of Best Cookbooks of 2018 from NPR.
DINNER IN AN INSTANT: 75 MODERN RECIPES FOR YOUR PRESSURE COOKING, MULTICOOKER, AND INSTANT POT-– (Clarkson Potter, 2017, 160p)–Melissa Clark’s first foray into the field of pressure cooking books, this attractive and accessible hardback book thoroughly covers the basics: how to use an electric pressure cooker, making boiled eggs, and why make yogurt? It then solves the ubiquitous, “What’s for dinner?” problem neatly and quickly with lots of recipes like “Creamy Macaroni and Cheese,” “Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken and Rice with Eggplant,” and “Classic Beef and Bean Chili,” with some directions for slow cooking, as well. Christopher Testani, photographer. “There may already be plenty of Instant Pot cookbooks on the market, but none of them were crafted by a cook with Clark’s blend of approachable adventurousness—and her flat-out skill in the kitchen.”–Epicurious
INSTANT POT MIRACLE: FROM GOURMET TO EVERYDAY, 175 Must-Have Recipes (Houghton-Mifflin, 2017, 304 p., Paperback) Authorized and licensed by the company that makes INSTANT POT and printed with full-color photographic illustrations, this book might be considered a sort of dictionary of electric pressure-cooking. Available in warehouse stores like COSTCO, as well as on amazon.com, it may have been the sister to many an INSTANT POT Christmas gift. Easy to look things up in, dependable for answering questions like, “How long do you cook _________?” and complete with Pressure Cooking Charts, it’s full of down-to-earth recipes, some of which were written by bloggers!
MULTICOOKER PERFECTION: COOK IT FAST OR COOK IT SLOW, YOU DECIDE, by the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen. (America’s Test Kitchen, 2018, 182 p., Paperback) From the famous group of well-known perky testers, their easy-to-read and understand book features instructions for both pressure cooking and slow cooking for every recipe. Coming after a large number of electric pressure cooker books had been published, this all-purpose volume includes necessary and well-written information like, “Why you should own a multicooker,” “Getting to Know Your Multicooker,” as well as their testing notes on several models. The recipes themselves are divided into simple categories like SOUPS, STEWS, AND CHILIS, EASY SUPPERS, SIMPLE SIDES, and so on. While cooking vegetables is not always at the top of my list of things for my INSTANT POT, there’s a pretty good selection of them here. One of the book’s big claims to fame may be deciding on a name for the appliance: MULTICOOKER!
When your dog steals your chair….and even pulls the afghan down. Hmph.
Happy January cooking,
below: Pike’s Peak as we came out of worship last Sunday