Yes, I’m going to go there.
Many women are trying to work through their political angst with Rage Baking. I’m not a baker, mostly because I’m fairly indifferent to baked goods, but I have been Rage Instant Potting. I won’t get into the politics that have me pressure cooking things at the temperature at which steam is coming out of my ears, because I mostly try to keep this blog a politics-free zone. But I’ll tell you what Rage Instantpotting has brought me to.
I’m declaring war on the ubiquitous yellow onion. Yeah, that thing that nearly every recipe has you add in some way shape or form to every recipe.
It was beans that led me to take arms against the onion. For health, and because I love them, I’ve been cooking up a batch of beans every few days. In the Instant Pot, it’s easy: don’t bother to soak, just rinse them, add liquid, put them under high pressure for 45 minutes or so, allow Natural Pressure Release (NPR) and DONE. Which is why I usually only cook a cup at a time. It’s so easy and fast to make fresh beans, why cook up a batch that would feed six wagon trains?
Here’s the thing: most recipes call for chopping an onion and maybe some garlic and sauteing that in the pot before adding the beans. Since beans can be bland, I’ve been following these tips, but have been disappointed with the results. Let me point out that I do all the things that should enhance beans. I use only high quality heirloom beans with the picking date on the package (so you know you don’t get old stale beans). I cook them in chicken stock, not water. But still, I was unhappy with what seemed to be sort of a muddy color and uninteresting “pot likker”. Suddenly it occurred to me that my lovely white beans were turning muddy because of the color leaching out of the onions. In a burst of inspiration, I left out the onions and instead chopped up two carrots into tiny pieces, sauted those, then cooked the beans. Success! The beans were brighter and a clearer color. The pot likker had a sweetness imparted by the carrots, which kept their shape and provided a festive confetti like color to the pot.
On the theory that what is good for the beans is good for everything else, I am hereby eschewing the now despised yellow onion. If I want an oniony flavor, I’ll choose shallots or maybe leeks or add some chopped green spring onions to a finished dish. But no more cooked yellow onion mucking up my recipes.
There, I’ve said it. Let the Twitter/Internet flame wars begin. I expect to be swarmed by the Pro-Onion Forces. But I’m standing firm.
In the interest of Science, here’s my foolproof delicious bean recipe:
Most Excellent Beans (makes about 4 servings)
1 cup medium sized beans like Pintos (should be fresh heirloom beans from a good source like Rancho Gordo.)
2 or more cups of chicken stock (certainly enough that all the beans are well covered)
1 or 2 carrots, in tiny dice
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, in tiny dice
Rinse the beans in a colander
Turn the Instant Pot on to high saute. When pot says “HOT”, add one or two tablespoons of olive oil.
When oil is shimmering, add carrot and saute for about three minutes.
Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
Add rinsed beans and stock.
Set Instant Pot to High Pressure and set for 45 minutes. (See note below.)
When cooking is done, let pressure drop naturally. Open pot and check beans. If they aren’t done to your liking, put the cover back on the pot and cook, under pressure for an additional 10 minutes. Let pressure drop naturally.
Salt to taste.
Scoop out beans and enjoy as a side, with some cooked sausage or with shredded cheese.
NOTE: Giving precise times for beans is impossible as they vary wildly by bean type and the age of the beans. I’ve found 45 minutes is a good starting point for medium sized beans like Pinto Beans. Sometimes I have to give it an extra ten minutes, sometimes I don’t.
NOTE: Do NOT salt beans before cooking. This will toughen the skins. Salt to taste after final cooking. Or let each person individually salt his or her bowl of beans to liking.