How not to make Pinto Beans

I should share my failures as well as my successes. To paraphrase Thomas Edison, I’ve discovered a way not to make tasty beans in the pressure cooker.

I have a tried and true home made recipe for pinto beans I’ve perfected over the years. You can find the old recipe here.

I’m working on converting it to cooking in a pressure cooker. My notes in the recipe said “adjustments may need to be made”.  That’s putting it mildly. I should have been thinking more clearly; the pressure cooker requires much less water. My old school recipe cooks them for 2 to 3 hours counting on the evaporation to reduce the liquid content. There isn’t nearly as much evaporation from the pressure cooker. My second problem was timing. I wanted to cook them for 15 minutes. Well, I had the timer set to 15 minutes but forgot to start it. I guessed how much time I lost but evidently under-estimated. The beans were much too mushy.

Oh well. Live and learn.

Simple line-up
Chopping the onions
Mis en place
Everything is in; give it a good stir and put the cover on

The ring is up on the cooker indicating it’s almost at high pressure. I should have started the timer….

Starting to come to pressure
Here is the result: watery beans.
Watery beans

I strained the beans and left back almost a full quart of bean broth. I don’t think we’ll be able to use them as base for tostados or burritos, but they’ll be good as side dishes.

Here they are after removing excess bean broth

Excess broth removed

I’ve adjusted my recipe which you can find here. I haven’t cooked the beans with this adjusted recipe so beware. [EDIT May 25, 2018. I’ve improved this recipe and have linked to the latest/best version.]
Or try Dad Cook’s Dinner variety here. He uses 7 cups of liquid as well.

I’ve only given this recipe 2 stars. I hope to get it back up to 5 with some adjustments. After all it took over two years to get my original recipe where I want it.

Rating: ★★ 2 out of 5 stars. I’ve gotten much better at pressure cooker beans. Try my 5 star recipe

3 thoughts on “How not to make Pinto Beans

  1. I generally cook most things in the pressure cooker with far less liquid than the recipe calls for. It is easy enough to add liquid after cooking, then heat the dish enough to incorporate the additional liquid. With beans it might be tricky to get enough liquid so they don't get dry when they expand, but sounds like you could estimate it pretty well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.