Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans

I was really happy with this recipe – it makes a ton, and they work as a great Mexican side dish (in our case, accompanying fish tacos) or even as the star attraction of lunch. I froze half for a later meal. These are great with a little bit of queso fresco crumbled over them.

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1 pound dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 quarts water
2 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 minced chipotle en adobo with sauce
5 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Sort, rinse, and brine the pinto beans: At least 8 hours before cooking, sort the pinto beans, removing broken beans, stones, and dirt clods. Rinse the beans, put them in a large container, cover with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 quarts water, and stir to dissolve the salt. Let the beans soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Note: I skipped this step and went with the non-soak adaptation (which cooks the beans for 40 minutes total).

Sauté the aromatics: Put the bacon in the pressure cooker pot over low heat, and cook until has rendered its fat and is crispy and brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the bacon fat behind as possible. (There should be 1 to 2 tbsp of fat left in the pan; if there is a lot less, add a little vegetable oil.) Turn the heat up to medium, add the onion, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and sauté until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Make a hole in the middle of the onions and add the garlic and cumin; let sit in the pan for 1 minute or until you can smell the garlic cooking, then stir into the onions. Cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes, then add the chipotle and stir.

Cook the pinto beans: Drain the pinto beans, rinse, and add to the pressure cooker. Pour in the water, then stir in the bay leaf and lard. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, increase the heat to high, and bring the cooker up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 15 minutes on a stovetop PC/18 minutes electric PC. Turn off the heat, and quick release the pressure in the cooker. Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot. Discard the bay leaf, and stir in the reserved bacon. (Or, cook under pressure for 12 minutes stovetop/15 minutes electric, then let the pressure come down naturally for about 15 minutes.)

Finish the beans: Check the beans to make sure they are cooked through and softened. If not, either bring the pressure cooker back to high pressure for another 3 minutes, or simmer the beans uncovered for ten minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste.

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