Making chili from dried beans usually requires a long simmering time on the stovetop, but it can be ready in about an hour if you use a pressure cooker instead. Red onions, red bell peppers, and garlic are cooked with spices in the pressure cooker, then dried black beans that’ve been soaked overnight, chipotles, and tomatoes are added before cooking on high pressure for 30 minutes; corn is stirred in at the end for some crunchy sweetness. This chili is vegan on its own, but you can top it with your favorite nonvegan fixin’s like sour cream or cheese—and don’t forget the tortilla chips. Also, it freezes well, so you can have a healthy lunch or dinner ready to go anytime.
Game plan: Though the CHOW Test Kitchen prefers a stovetop pressure cooker, this recipe can also be made in an electric model. Use the brown setting for steps 2 and 3, then proceed with high pressure cooking.
The dried beans in this recipe need to be soaked overnight before cooking, so be sure to plan accordingly.
This recipe was featured as part of our story on pressure cookers.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 30 mins, plus 8 hrs bean soaking time
For the chili:
- 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and medium dice
- 2 medium red onions, medium dice
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons minced chipotles in adobo sauce (about 2 medium chipotles)
- 2 1/2 cups water, plus more for soaking the beans
- 1 (14-1/2-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups corn kernels, thawed if frozen (about 10 ounces)
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or thinly sliced scallions
- Lime wedges
- Sour cream
- Tortilla chips
- Place the beans in a large bowl and pick through them, discarding any broken beans or stones. Cover with at least 3 inches of cold water and allow to soak uncovered and at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a 6-quart stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, bell pepper, onion, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and chipotles and stir to coat the onion mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste is no longer raw-tasting, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the measured water, crushed tomatoes, reserved beans, and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and stir to combine.
- Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce the stovetop heat to medium and cook the chili for 30 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a visible, steady stream of escaping steam.
- Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes.
- Carefully quick-release any pressure left in the cooker, then remove the lid (keep your face away from the escaping steam).
- Stir in the corn and let it sit for 3 minutes to heat through. Taste and season the chili with salt as needed. Serve with your choice of garnishes.