Jerseygator's Blog

White Beans and Collards

Posted in Cooking by jerseygator on October 20, 2009

When we got our pressure cooker, everyone told me how great it would be for cooking beans.  I love beans but have never been successfully able to take them from dried to edible.  I’ve tried the overnight soak, the “quick” soak, the crock pot, the slow simmer… now it was time to try the pressure cooker.  I allowed myself to have high hopes despite my repeated failures.  When we traveled to Italy my hands down favorite dish was the Tuscan White Beans at Mario’s in Florence, so I decided to start with a white bean dish.

I opted for the long soak; after a little research I figured I’d try 4 hours minimum so I put the white beans in enough cold water to cover by 3-4 inches in a large glass bowl and left it alone.  Later that evening, I rinsed the beans and put about 1 Tbsp of olive oil in the pressure cooker, then added the beans and 4 cups of water.  After bringing it up to pressure, I cooked them for 10 minutes, let the pressure cooker cool and tentatively tried a bean.

White Beans & Collards via the fab pressure cooker

White Beans & Collards via the fab pressure cooker

It was soft!  The texture was perfect! This was an absolute first for me.  Now for soup!  (BTW, I know some of you are way ahead of me… wait for it.)  I rinsed the pressure cooker and sweated some chopped onion, celery and carrot for about 5 minutes, then added some homemade chicken stock (about 4 cups) and some thyme from the garden.  I brought this to pressure for about 5 minutes, quick cooled the pan in the sink then opened and added the beans, a little more thyme, oregano, salt/pepper and some red pepper flakes (for a little kick).  I let this simmer for about 10 minutes, then added a bunch of chopped collards, letting it then simmer for about 5 minutes more.  After tasting and adjusting for flavor (I added a hit of Cholula hot sauce as well), it was ladled out and some toasted croutons added.  OK, the croutons were cut up squares of toasted multi-grain bread; one does what one must.

Overall, fast and delicious.  The kids all liked it, so that automatically qualifies as a hit.  I don’t think the leftovers will last very long.  Oh, and the wait for it?  Why didn’t I just cook the beans with the onions, etc.?  Next time that’s what I’ll try, ’cause it seems like a no-brainer in retrospect.  Oh, well, a solid first attempt, don’t you think? 🙂


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