Before I got a pressure cooker, I'd buy dried beans with the best of intentions, but ultimately, they'd sit on my countertop gathering dust as I continued to never, ever remember to soak them a day in advance. But when I got an Instant Pot—which is able to turn dried legumes, completely sans soak, into tender, creamy bites quickly—everything changed. Now, when I come home with a bag of dried black beans, the only thing I need to remember to do is press a button, and get my toppings line-up in A+ shape. —Ella Quittner
6 to 8
For the soup
large red onion, diced, divided into about 2/3 for the soup, and 1/3 for the quick-pickled onions
cloves garlic, smashed and minced
Hungarian hot paprika
red wine vinegar
canned pureed tomato
broth (chicken or vegetable)
water, room temp
dried black beans, not soaked
(heaping) kosher salt, plus more to taste
freshly cracked pepper, plus more to taste
For the quick pickled onions and other garnishes
red onion, diced (from above)
red wine vinegar
hot (but not boiling) water, made by bringing water to boil, then taking it off heat for a few minutes
dark brown sugar
Garnishes of your choice, like thinly sliced avocado, hot sauce, pepitas, chopped scallions, sour cream, and/or crumbled feta
Set your multi-cooker to sauté mode. Add the olive oil and, once it’s shimmering, add the onion and garlic. Sauté until the onion is translucent and fragrant, and just starting to get browned edges.
Move the vegetables to the sides of the pot, and add the paprika to the center. Let it cook in the oil for 30 seconds, then stir to mix with everything. Add the tomato paste, and stir to mix. Add the red wine vinegar, and use it to deglaze the pot (aka, scrape up any browned bits clinging to the bottom). Add the pureed tomato, vegetable broth, water, and beans. Stir. Set the multi-cooker to pressure cook mode on high for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the quick pickled onions. In a medium bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, hot water, brown sugar, and salt. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the onion, stir, and let sit until the soup is ready. Drain and use as a garnish. (These can be made up to two weeks in advance—just keep the onions covered in the vinegar mixture, in the refrigerator, until you’re ready to use.)
When the pressure cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for at least five minutes before utilizing the instant release function. Once the pressure is released, uncover and add the salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Ladle the beans and broth into soup bowls, and garnish with pickled onions, and your other toppings (I like sliced avocado, pepitas, scallions, sour cream, crumbled feta, and hot sauce).
Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.