Black beans....what am I doing wrong?

I soak them then pressure cook them in water with onion and bacon. But they are flavorless.

Should I be cooking them on the stove? How to get glossy flavorful beans instead of beans with split skins and clumpy texture. They look awful and taste like nothing.

Am I using too much water? What's going on?

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10 Comments

Susan February 4, 2015
I'm going to be the contrarian here. Once upon a long time ago, I pressures cooked all my beans. Then I realized they obtained a much better flavor when cooked in a regular pot. The pressure cooker hasn't seen the light of day since.
 
Pegeen February 1, 2015
If you're not vegetarian, a ham bone or ham hock is well worth adding for depth of flavor.
 
Raquelita February 1, 2015
I always pressure cook my beans. They need almost no time (like, 5 minutes) under pressure if I've pre-soaked. If you add flavoring to your cooking liquid you'll have very good flavor--I swear it's the pressure that forces the flavor into the beans! Here's what I do: Try dry-toasting some cumin, coriander and sesame (yes! sesame) seeds, cooling them, then crushing or grinding them. Add that, plus a chopped onion, garlic, a bay leaf or two, a little cinnamon or cinnamon stick, and oregano to the pot. Add salt and tomato paste after the beans have cooked.
 
Stephanie G. February 1, 2015
I don't think the cooking method is the problem. I find that beans need a lot of salt and if you are not salting them well at the point they are tender, then they will always taste like nothing.
 
nancy E. February 1, 2015
I can't agree. I salt the dish I add my beans to. Never had a problem with flavour
 
creamtea January 31, 2015
Have you added salt? That will bring up the flavor. You could also sizzle a little onion and/or garlic in olive oil in a separate pan then add to the beans, simmer uncovered a few minutes to bring the flavors together. They will be even better the next day. Another point, be sure you are not using old beans; buy from a reliable source with rapid turnover.
 
sfmiller January 31, 2015
If you want to use the pressure cooker to save time or avoid heating up the kitchen in the warm months, try cooking the unsoaked beans for about 18 minutes under pressure, then check them for doneness. They may be a little under, in which case give them another minute or two under pressure or (my preference) let them simmer uncovered until tender.
 
puttakka January 31, 2015
Thanks everyone! So fast. I guess it's still ok to pressure cook beans then? I have a n instant pot.
 
Greenstuff January 31, 2015
Nancy's right. Here's your reading list
http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/soaking-black-beans-faq.html
http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-dont-soak-dried-beans-20140911-story.html#page=1
http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-calcook-20141018-story.html

 
nancy E. January 31, 2015
I just had the same question and did some research. It is not necessary to presoak your beans. This does leech flavor from them. Instead, simmer them with onion and bay(for example) and just cook them. They come out lovely. Only caveat to this is red kidney beans which need a boil for a few minutes to dispel the toxic chemical on them.
 
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