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Need pressure cooker advice NOW. Anyone on who knows how to cook with them?

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I'm trying out my pressure cooker for the first time today. I'm currently making dried pinto beans and ham hocks. All the recipes call for about 55 mins of high pressure, but I soaked mine overnight (closer to 24 hours) so I am assuming a shorter time. Any ideas on how long I should cook them? Thank you!

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  1. Make sure that you do not fill the pot more than half way. the beans can foam up and block the pressure safety valve/release.
    Since the soaking usually reduces the cooking time in half I would start there. You can always bring it back up to pressure and cook longer if needed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chefj

      I don't think that the problem will be your beans rather that smoked pork hock. That usually takes 45 to 55 minutes to cook through, longer if the pork hock has been hanging in your larder and drying out. I still always soak my beans overnight as well; the texture of the beans is better.

    2. Try looking at this chart -- http://missvickie.com/howto/beans/how...
      it is a chart for cooking *already soaked* beans in a pressure cooker.

      2 Replies
        1. re: vvv03

          You are probably already done with your beans but I always put a teaspoon or so of oil in each batch of beans to prevent foaming. Read that somewhere.

      1. I pressure cook pinto beans often. I like to quick soak them - bring to boil then set aside for an hour. Pressure cook them with half a peeled onion, ham hock, about 6 C water and no salt. Bring to high pressure then turn them down to medium pressure for 15 minutes. While they cook I prepare a soffits with onion, garlic, red and green peppers, half a jalapeƱo, oregano, salt and pepper. Add this to cooked beans and boil the mixture for 15 minutes. I think they are perfect this way.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CharIties

          CI has done some research ( I know, there is controversy on these boards about CI's testing methods, etc., but I find many of their ideas to be spot-on. Take it all with a grain of, er, salt!) and found that salting beans actually makes them tender to the middle, better seasoned at the finish, and NOT tough on the outside.
          Basically, do a 'quick brine' of your beans before cooking, then cook them up.
          If cooking in a pressure cooker, be sure to follow instructions for your model, or cook on lowest pressure setting to avoid blown-out beans!
          Love Charlties sofrito above - sounds delish!

        2. There are a million ways to cook beans apparently. I do a presoak for several hours, and then pressure cook them for about 15 minutes to see how well they are cooking. I cooked pintos a couple of weeks ago, and I tested them after 15 minutes (timed from the beans coming to pressure) and then pressure cooked them for a few minutes more, to get them as done as I wanted. If you chill the cooked beans overnight they will be firmer than if you eat them shortly after cooking them.

          I hope you were happy with your pinto beans. I hope you enjoy using your new PC.

          1. I'd love to hear how your beans turned out.

            I recommend presoaking (with or without salt, I prefer no salt) the beans, draining and then cooking pinto beans between 4 and 6 minutes at pressure with a natural pressure release. I think that at 15 minutes they would be falling apart and too mushy for my liking.

            You can always put them back on the heat but you can't make them less done. I guess that you could always turn them into Spicy Pinto Bean Dip if you needed to.

            It's great to see so many more people pressure cooking these days. I have been teaching people how to do this for 15 years and maybe the time has finally come when more people will pressure cook regularly.

            1 Reply
            1. re: The Veggie Queen

              Some of the fear seems to have subsided.

            2. Many good answers but none addressed whether the ham hock will be cooked in the time the beans cook... if it was there I missed it.

              3 Replies
              1. re: RWCFoodie

                That was my first concern as well. I would start by browning the meat in the pressure cooker (lid off). Followed by cooking the meat under pressure, then add the pre soaked beans and return to pressure to finish

                1. re: RWCFoodie

                  The ham hock will be cooked that's for sure. I put a bay leaf in with the beans. The thing to remember about pressure cookers is they are REALLY REALLY dangerous if you don't follow the instructions to the letter. Another poster mentioned putting a bit of oil in with the beans. I agree. Never overfill the P.C. Half way filled is stretching it IMO. I'd try filling a bit less than half way. Keep an eye/ear on the PC. If you notice the amount of steam escaping is lessening you know the PC is getting low on water. Actually by then it's almost too late. Quickly but VERY carefully move the PC into the sink. DON'T run cold water over it. And don't release the steam valve. Just let it cool down on it's own. In half an hour or so lift the steam valve and if no steam comes out fill the sink with warm water. Then remove the top half. You only need to go through this once or twice before you get the right amount of water to use down. Lastly, I assume you've got the PC on a burner full wack. Once the steam starts coming out reduce the heat till you're still getting plenty of steam. PC's are an excellent way to cook some foods like beans. I'd use a smoked pork hock for the extra flavor but you don't need to 'brown' it beforehand. Fifty five minutes in a PC and you'll barely recognize the pork hock anyway. LOL

                  1. re: Puffin3

                    I think it depends on the kind of PC you use, Puffin. My brand-new Kuhn-Rikon recommends a cold-water release, and I use one all the time with great success. The new models have multiple safety mechanisms, and I think that the really, really dangerous part has largely subsided- as long as you're present in the kitchen and throw an eye in that direction from time to time, you're all set. I use mine while making dinner and keeping an eye on the toddler in the kitchen, no worries.