Instant Pot Heirloom Dried Beans

Recipe by Chef Tony Martineau

In the past several years, accomplished chefs nationwide have welcomed Heirloom Dried Beans to their menu. These colorful gems are loaded with protein and flavor. They pair well with any of the offshoots of the five “Mother Sauces” and they take on the flavor of your favorite herbs and spice blends nicely. I generally use a traditional pressure cooker or the stove top method to bring them to the desired soft creamy texture. But last week, I began cooking beans with an Instant Pot. This method is easy and to the point. Here are a few simple suggestions.

Soak or don’t soak the beans?

You can always find conflicting advice. When it comes to beans, I always soak them overnight prior to cooking. It gets me in the mood to make a delicious recipe while reducing the sugars that are hard to digest. Rehydrating also reduces cooking time and I find it the beans cook more evenly.

How do you soak?

First, measure out the amount of beans for your recipe. The rule of thumb is one cup of dried beans soaked will yield up to 2 ½ +/- cups. Two cups of dried beans (roughly 1 lb.) will yield 5-6 cups of rehydrated beans.

Then, sort the beans on a cookie sheet carefully to remove any debris.
In a large bowl, cover beans with cool water and agitate them with your hand to rinse off field dust. Drain and rinse again.
Pour off the water, place the beans back in the bowl and cover with 2”-3” of water above the beans. They will absorb plenty of water while rehydrating. Cover and leave at room temperature.
The following morning, drain the water and rinse the beans one more time. If you’re not ready to cook them, cover and refrigerate.

Tips:

Add salt AFTER reaching the desired texture. I find adding salt before the beans are cooked to desired texture can make them tough and seemingly not cooked.
Acidic ingredients such as vinegar and tomatoes etc. cause additional cooking time. Add acidic ingredients after reaching the desired texture.
When I use my traditional pressure cooker I ALWAYS add a tablespoon of olive or other oil to the water to prevent foaming which can send skins up to clog the pressure release device.
As with all pressure cookers when cooking beans, it’s best not to exceed filling the pot more than half full!
Instant Pot instructions state: Its design eliminates the need for using oil as a foam preventing measure. I found this to be true. You choose!

Let’s get cooking!

Put the beans in the Instant Pot, follow the recipe you’re using or simply add a dried Bay Leaf or two, or an herb of your choice for a subtle flavor. Cover the soaked beans with one inch of water. Secure the lid and press the Bean setting button. Press the Keep Warm button to turn it off. Use the natural release method at the end of the cooking cycle. I find the natural release method will take 20-30 minutes or more, be patient – it’s worth it!
The hint of Bay Leaf flavor in the beans works well when using them for dips or beans & rice, or when added to salads or using in a soup or stew!

Enjoy!

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