Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Instant Pot Great Northern Beans
When Should You Salt Beans?

White beans with olives, artichokes, peppers, and avocado.

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Easy to make in your Instant Pot
It's easy to open a can of beans but it's not all that hard to make them from dried beans in your Instant Pot. Here's a simple recipe that's perfect for summer since it can be served warm, at room temperature, or even chilled. Bring to a pot luck, serve as an antipasto when entertaining company, or make it a meal on a bed of greens. 

To Salt or Not to Salt
A while back I read a post on Serious Eats about whether or not you should salt your beans when soaking and when cooking. You should read the entire article to appreciate the testing but their results were: "For the best, creamiest, most flavorful beans, season your bean-soaking water with one tablespoon of kosher salt per quart (about 15 grams per liter), rinse the beans with fresh water before cooking, then add a pinch of salt to the cooking water as well." 

This goes against everything we've been told about how salt during cooking will cause beens to be tough or that the skins will burst. If you've listened to this advice, you probably realize how tasteless unsalted beans are and how hard they are to flavor after they are cooked. After reading this article, I've started soaking my beans in salted water and adding salt to the pot when cooking. They come out great! So give that a try when you make this recipe.

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Mediterranean Great Northern Beans
Vegan, Gluten and Dairy Free
[makes 6 servings]

Plan ahead to soak the beans the night before.

For the beans:
1 cup dry Great Northern Beans
2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 cup small diced roasted red pepper
4 marinated artichoke quarters, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives
1 avocado, diced

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

The night before: Pick through the beans for rocks and rinse. Place them in the Instant Pot and cover with 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover and let sit over night.

Drain and rinse well. Return to the Instant Pot and cover the soaked beans with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Secure the lid, press the “Manual” button, and set for 6 minutes at high pressure. When done, press the “Off” button and let the pressure release naturally. After 10 minutes you can release the pressure. Then, remove the lid carefully with the steam vented towards the back. Drain the beans and set aside.

Most of the skins are intact and the beans are soft and creamy.
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the drained beans, the roasted red peppers, artichokes, olives, and avocado. Gently mix to combine and serve.

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