Last year, I purchased what has quickly become my favorite kitchen tool: a pressure cooker. It's a simple, cheap aluminum number, and I love it. I have always been a fan of simple recipes like beans and rice, but I have never had any success in making beans from dried. It's a frustrating conundrum. But with the pressure cooker, making a whole pot of delicious, creamy, smokey beans is only about an hour and a half away.
There are a number of guides online for how long to cook beans in a pressure cooker, but I've found that for mine, in my kitchen, they take about fifty minutes once they've come up to pressure. I usually stick with pinto, red beans or black beans. The recipe varies with my mood, and what kind of bean I'm looking for: pinto beans get the whole treatment, with a mix of diced red, jalepeno and poblano peppers, onion, garlic and two 15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes. I'll saute the peppers and onions in either a bit of left over bacon fat, or just olive oil if that's what's to hand. Once they're cooked, I'll usually puree a couple cups of beans and liquid to release some starch and thicken them up. Black beans are simpler: four cloves of garlic, a medium onion cut in half, half a carrot, some bay leaves and a tablespoon of cumin. There's really not much you can do wrong with them.
While it's not cooked in the pressure cooker, for the rice, my new trick is dropping in a couple bay leaves, some salt and some dried herbs in when I turn on the rice cooker, then cutting in the juice of one lime once the rice is done. It's seriously delicious, and it's amazing such a small addition makes such a huge difference.
Everyone I try and convince to give pressure cookers a try has had some sort of variation on "oh, those things are scary" or "don't they explode?" All I can say is, mine hasn't exploded yet, and there are a number of pressure valves and safety features that make an exploding pressure cooker vanishingly unlikely. Beyond the fact that (at worst) you'd see the lid gasket break and release the pressure, you're not going to blow yourself up using one.
And while beans have been my go-to for pressure cooking so far, there are a number of different recipes I've tried and absolutely love. Serious eats is a great resource for that, and here are a couple of my favorite recipes that I've tried. The chicken chili verde is especially amazing, and unbelievably easy.
Give it a try some time! The investment is minimal, but the results are incredible.