I was craving red beans and rice but unfortunately, I didn’t plan ahead enough to soak the beans overnight. Enter the pressure cooker – the solution to all of your unsoaked bean problems! What usually takes about 3 hours to cook in a pot is cut down to about 1 hour and 15 minutes in a pressure cooker, giving you all the deliciousness of red beans with none of the overnight soaking!
Pressure cookers tend to scare people unfamiliar with them – the first time I used mine, I turned it on and ran out of the kitchen! But don’t fear, modern pressure cookers have so many built-in safety features that you’d really have to put some effort into making it explode. I promise it’s not scary!
Another disclaimer about this recipe – if you know me, you know I absolutely loathe all things bell pepper related, hence their non-existence in this recipe, although traditionally included. By all means, if you love a good bell pepper, feel free to dice one up and add it in when you start sauteing the onions and celery.
I’ma do me.
You do you, boo.
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or bacon fat if you have it on hand)
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 large onion, diced **see note below
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere), more to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb dried red beans
- 1 ham hock (smoked turkey leg or neck will also work)
- 5 cups chicken stock
- ~6 cups cooked white rice, to serve
- green onion, for garnish
- In a pressure cooker over medium heat (at least 6 quarts), add in olive oil. Once hot, add in onion, celery and bell pepper (if using, see notes). Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes - vegetables should be soft and cooked through.
- Add salt, pepper and creole seasoning to the vegetables and stir to combine.
- Stir in garlic, thyme and sausage. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the sausage has browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the red beans and the ham hock to the pot, followed by the chicken stock. Be sure to follow your pressure cooker's manufacturer's instructions for limits on the amount of liquid that can be added to your pressure cooker. The beans should be completely covered by chicken stock, but take care not to go over your pressure cooker's "max fill line".
- Bring the cooker up to full pressure. Once pressure has been reached, reduce the heat just enough to maintain full pressure, then start timing for one hour. After one hour, allow the pressure to come down naturally.
- Remove the lid and taste - adjust the seasonings and, if necessary, cook a bit longer (some of my beans were still a little tough and needed another 15 minutes of cooking - uncovered with no pressure).
- Serve with hot white steamed rice and garnish with green onion.