Why It Works
- The pressure cooker delivers tender, creamy black beans packed with chorizo flavor in under an hour.
- Sweating the chorizo before adding the beans and aromatics ensures that it releases its fat and adds flavor to the beans.
For a good 15 years of my driving life, I had a mini panic attack every time I entered the gas station because I couldn't remember which side the gas tank was on. Oh crap, am I going to be that jerk who pulls in, then has to pull out and swing around the pump while everyone watches me because I pulled up on the wrong side again? I'd think to myself. Then one day, someone told me that the gas display on your dashboard has a little arrow indicating which side the tank is on.
This was one of those simultaneously frustrating and liberating experiences in which I learned that I'd been doing things the hard way my entire life.
I had a similar experience a couple of years ago when I discovered that not only do you not have to soak dried black beans prior to cooking, but they actually come out tastier when you don't soak them. It's not new news. Russ Parsons wrote about it way back in 1994 in the L.A. Times. But, just like the gas tank arrow, it simply never entered my brain.
Some beans do need to be soaked in order to cook evenly without blowing out—but not black beans. And since I made this discovery, black beans have become my bean staple. How much easier does it get than Max's lazy black bean recipe? Throw beans in a pot, add a couple of aromatics, and boil them until finished. Done.
The answer is that it doesn't really get any easier than that. But it does get faster. With the help of a good pressure cooker, you can cut your total cooking time down from a few hours to under an hour, and the process is just as simple.
In this recipe, I start with a little bit of chorizo, which I sauté in oil until it starts to crisp up and render its fat. (You can very easily use any other firm, cured sausage—andouille, kielbasa, or pepperoni would all be delicious.) I then add the dried beans and the rest of the aromatics, and I don't even bother sweating or sautéing them first: I'm that lazy. An onion split in half, some whole cloves of garlic, an orange split in half, and some bay leaves. Cover the whole thing with chicken stock, season it with salt (contrary to popular belief, salt does not cause beans to turn tough—quite the opposite, in fact), then cook at high pressure for about 40 minutes. That's it.
What you do during that 40 minutes is entirely up to you. I suggest putting on a pair of wrist sweatbands, going for a jog, and realizing that those sweatbands are not for your sweaty wrists, but for wiping sweat off your face.
I'd been doing that wrong my whole life, too.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 ounces Spanish-style chorizo, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch half moons (see notes)
1 pound dried black beans
1 whole onion, split in half
6 whole garlic cloves
1 orange, split in half
2 bay leaves
2 quarts homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Heat oil in pressure cooker until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, stirring, until it releases its fat and starts to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add beans, onion, garlic cloves, orange, bay leaves, chicken stock, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook at high pressure for 40 minutes.
For extra-tender and creamy beans, allow pressure to release naturally. For firmer beans, use quick-release valve on an electric pressure cooker, or run a stovetop pressure cooker under cold running water until pressure dissipates. Remove lid and discard onion, orange, and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and serve. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro at the table.
In place of chorizo, you can use any type of firm, cured sausage, such as andouille, kielbasa, pepperoni, or salami.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 11g||14%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||17%|
|Total Carbohydrate 38g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 9g||32%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 4mg||19%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|