If you ever wondered about pressure cookers then reading this recipe will be educational. There are tips and tactics all the way through on how to make perfect beans and rice with this kitchen gadget. We hosted Food Writer Wanda Adams in our kitchen and she shared this recipe with me. I do not own a pressure cooker but it sure was fascinating. If you use them in your vegan cooking let us know your secrets!
Bolognese Bean Ragu
- 1/2 cup dry cannellini beans
- 1/2 cup dry kidney beans
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 cups vegetables, diced (onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers)
- 1 tablespoon olive or macadamia nut oil
- 1/2 bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 1 can tomatoes, crushed with juice (28 ounce)
- 1 cup bean cooking water
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper, fresh ground to taste
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 cup silk soymilk
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
The first step uses the pressure cooker to cook the dry beans. Add the dry beans, the water and the olive oil. Remember to never fill your pressure cooker more than two thirds full. Put the pressure cooker lid on, lock it and stay near by! The pot needs your full attention at this point. Keep the heat on medium high and bring the pot up to pressure. It will begin to hiss. As a general rule when cooking with a pressure cooker, once the pot begins to hiss, lower the temperature to medium low and set the timer. Once the hissing begins, lower the temperature to medium low and cook at pressure for 20 minutes. There should be visible steam coming out of the valves. If the hissing sound fades away completely then the temperature is too low and needs to be raised. After 20 minutes, carry the pot to the sink. The quick release style pots will depressurize with cold water. Run cold water on the hot pot and it will “ping.” The pot is NOT ready to be opened. Once the pot is completely depressurized the lid should automatically unlock. Drain the beans and save one cup of the bean water.
The other method of releasing pressure is called “natural release.” Simply turn off the heat under the pot and allow it to cool naturally, about 5 to 20 minutes. You will hear the “clack!” of the valve opening and steam will stop escaping.
The next step uses the pressure cooker like a normal skillet, or you can use a regular skillet for this step. Cut the vegetables in unformed diced pieces. Heat the olive or macadamia nut oil in the pressure cooker pan or a skillet. Make sure the pan is hot. Sauté the vegetables and the parsley.
Once the vegetables are tender, add them and the cooked beans, the crushed tomatoes and the bean cooking water in to the pressure cooker. Add the pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice is a wonderful substitute for red or white wine for this dish. Lock the lid on and pressure cook at pressure for 5 to 7 minutes, following the instructions above. Then do the quick release with cold water also as previously instructed.
The last step again uses the pressure cooker as a conventional pot. For another layer of flavor add the brown sugar, the balsamic vinegar and the nutmeg. Simmer the ragu until most of the liquid is evaporate leaving a rich tasty thick ragu. Then add finish the dish by adding the soymilk, salt and pepper and letting the ragu simmer until the liquid is reduced. The combination of these ingredients with give this dish a rich, meaty flavor mimicking the classic Italian dish!
Serve this ragu over the basmati rice below or use the ragu with pasta, sautéed vegetables or layer it in lasagna.
Yields 3 cups cooked
- 1 cup dry Basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup onions, diced
- 2 cups vegetable broth
The first step uses the pressure cooker like a conventional skillet. Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker pan and sauté the garlic, and the onions, using medium high heat. Never use full heat when cooking with a pressure cooker ware. Sauté the onions until translucent. At this point you may add bell peppers and other vegetables like celery. Add the basmati rice and sauté for a few minutes, stirring often, until the fragrance has been released. The rice will begin to crackle and pop! Meanwhile, heat up the veggie broth in a separate pot or microwave until boiling or you may use a boiling hot mixture of salt and water. Add this hot liquid to the rice mixture. Be careful this will splatter and steam.
Put the pressure cooker lid on, lock it and stay near by! The pot needs your full attention at this point. Keep the heat on medium high and bring the pot up to pressure. It will begin to hiss. As a general rule when cooking with a pressure cooker, once the pot begins to hiss, lower the temperature to medium low and set the timer. For this dish, one cup of dry basmati rice will take 14 minutes. There should be visible steam coming out of the valves. If the hissing sound fades away the temperature is too low and needs to be raised. After 14 minutes, carry the pot to the sink. The quick release style pots will depressurize with cold water. Run cold water on the hot pot and it will “ping.” The pot is NOT ready to be opened. Once the pot is completely depressurized the lid should automatically unlock.
Pressure Cooker Tips
- The new pressure cookers have two safety valves so there are no more horror stories of exploding pots these days.
- Cooking with pressure versus heat retains more of the food’s nutrients.
- Cooking presoaked beans can speed up the cooking time by 2/3!
- General rule when cooking beans is 4 cups of water for the first 1 cup of dried beans. You should add 3 cups of water for every additional 1 cup of dried beans.