Thursday, July 28, 2011

Red Beans and Rice in the Pressure Cooker

My version was mild enough for every member of my very white family.  Even both my picky kids liked it and asked for seconds and thirds!  Look at the end for tips to spice it up and a low-glycemic version.

  • 1-2 red onions
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • cherry tomatoes (or other ripe or canned, drained tomatoes)
  • 1-2 dry bay leaves
  • 1-2 large dry hot peppers - seeded, no need to chop or pre-soak
  • dry or fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup red/kidney beans (See step 1 for soaking tips.)
  • 3.5 cups water or broth, plus water for rinsing and soaking
  • smoked paprika
  • salt

  1. Soak beans.  Below are two quick soak methods from's Complete Guide to Cooking Dried Beans from Scratch.
    Place the beans in a pot and cover with water, an inch higher than the level of the beans. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, and cover. After an hour you can use the beans in your recipe.OR You can also “soak” 1-1/2 cup of beans in a large bowl in the microwave along with four cups of water. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 12 minutes, or until boiling. Set aside for half and hour,drain.
  2. Just barely cover bottom of pressure cooker with olive oil and begin to cook onions and garlic on medium to low heat.
  3. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, chili peppers, and thyme.  Stir and cook another few seconds to a minute.
  4. Add rice, beans, and water.  Bring heat to high and lock on lid.
  5. Lower heat and maintain pressure for 22 minutes. 
  6. Then turn off heat and let pressure drop naturally.  (If you have an electric stove, more the pot off the hot burner.)
  7. Remove chili peppers and bay leaves.  Stir in smoked paprika and salt to taste.

Spicy Variation: Use fresh large chili peppers, chopped and leave them in.  I think the big green ones would be nice.  Leave seeds for more heat or add crushed red pepper after cooking.

Low GI "Red Beans and Barley": Substitute pearl barley for rice.  You may need to cook an extra 2-3 minutes under pressure.

Speedy Version: Substitute white rice or bulgur for brown rice and lentils or black-eyed peas for red beans.  Will cook in 5-12 minutes depending on legume of choice.

Other optional ingredients: mushrooms, red or green bell pepper, leaks, black pepper, tomato paste, chili powder, taco seasoning, scallions for garnish, roast leaks or roast red pepper for garnish.

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