Instant Pot Smoky Pintos with Ham – Recipe! Image 1
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Instant Pot Smoky Pintos with Ham – Recipe!

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This coming week looks like more rain for Southern California, which we need desperately, and with that comes chilly evenings.  A warm pot of beans always seems to hit the spot this time of the year, especially right before the season begins to change.  There’s something delightful in a bag of beans, now I’m beginning to sound like the story of Jack in the Beanstalk, with Jack and his magic beans.  But, it’s true, a pound of beans can be turned into one delicious meal in no time at all, and an electric pressure cooker can really help in this transformation.

Pinto beans are a hardy bean and most of the time you see them made into refried beans, or cowboy beans, which are more Texas-style.  I find these beans so full of flavor with a rich and earthy taste, especially with the right seasonings.  Simple flavorings of onions and garlic are the classic additions, but with a bit of sliced jalapeno, some tomato paste, and a ham hock, these beans do become magically divine.  A touch of smoky ham does change the bean game altogether because it adds another level of complexity and texture, that you wouldn’t get without it.  What I love is how the ham just falls from the bone with a simple swipe of your spoon after an hour in the cooker.  It makes life so easy, and it gives you so much.

I think these beans are great served in a big bowl with a side of bread or roll.  There’s nothing else that matters with a delicious bowl of beans like these.  The focus should be on the beans – no frills, no fancy presentation, just a darn good hardy bowl of beans with tons of flavor.

Instant Pot Smoky Pintos with Ham – Recipe! Image 2


1 pound pinto beans, soaked overnight (or add 8 minutes to cooking time, if unsoaked)

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups chicken broth

1 smoked ham hock, or piece of bone-in ham

oil for cooking

salt & pepper

scallions for garnish, optional

(Serves 4)

Instant Pot Smoky Pintos with Ham – Recipe! Image 3

Instant Pot Smoky Pintos with Ham – Recipe! Image 4

Instant Pot Smoky Pintos with Ham – Recipe! Image 5

Instant Pot Smoky Pintos with Ham – Recipe! Image 6

To Prepare:

  1. In a electric pressure cooker or large pot, add 2 teaspoons of oil and sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes.  Add thyme, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stir.  Cook for 1 minute and add chicken broth, stir.
  2. Add beans and ham hock.  Place lid on top and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes, or simmer in pot on stove top for 2 1/2 hours.  Let steam release naturally, about 25 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and stir.  Scrape ham gently off bone and remove.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with scallions, if desired.  Enjoy!




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