Large Pressure cooker method:
Serves at least 12 as many as the twenty people.
2 lbs dry red or kidney beans
4-6 hamhocks depending on size maybe three lbs or so.
2-3 lbs smoked sausage (kielbasa is good, andouille is more traditional) sliced into ½”-1″ slices.
2 large yellow pages onions, medium dice
6-8 stalks celery, medium dice
4 bell peppers, red and green, medium dice.
1 head of garlic (8+ cloves), peeled and thinly sliced.
1-2 tsp dried thyme
4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2-4+ Tbs vinegary hot sauce such as Crystal brand.
½ tbs or less Creole spice mix such as Tony Chachere’s
1 Tbs. Chipotle pepper powder (or 1 tsp cayenne)
1 tsp MSG (yeah, you read that right, anybody who thinks MSG is bad is badly misinformed, do the research)
2 Tbs plain cooking oil
Ok, let’s get going.
First off, I have a large Presto pressure cooker that is also large enough to can 7 quart jars of food. If you have something smaller, divide the recipe and go easy on the salt components. Those of you who have no pressure cooker, I’ll be adding a stove top version. .
Sort out your beans in the cooker or large container while covering them with a couple inches of water. They tell you to look out for rocks but I have never found one. Pick out any discolored beans. Soak them overnight. Don’t do the quick soak method if you can help it; beans done this way seem to have a much higher flatulence factor.
Drain and thoroughly rinse the soaked beans (this helps to reduce the flatulence level). Put the beans in your cooker, and add water to cover. Add 2 Tbs cooking oil to reduce foaming. Using the manufacturer’s instructions , Cook your beans for 2-3 minutes after the pressure regulator indicates that it’s at 15 psi. You want those beans slightly undercooked.
Please check online for the manual for your particular pressure cooker. Although they are not inherently dangerous, they need to be used correctly and maintained scrupulously. Do not remove the regulator or relieve the pressure prematurely; steam burns are wicked ad happen in a blink of the eye! Besides, the cool down is part of the cooking time.
When the beans are done and the lid of the cooker can be removed, ladle the beans with a slotted spoon into a temporary container. Try to keep the cooking liquid in the cooker.
Place the hocks in the cooker and raise the liquid level just above the top of the hocks. Pressure cook the hocks at 15 psi for 45 minutes or so and then let the pressure come down and give them a chance to cool.
While the hocks are cooking, prep all your vegetables and, in a Dutch oven or stockpot, sweat the onion, bell pepper, and celery until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and give it just a minute or two to settle in.
Get the cooled hocks out. The bones should pull away easily. Now normally, I’d leave those hocks in the whole time and just use tongs to grab those bones and any inedible skin or fat while I’m giving it a last stir through. I think it tastes better. Otherwise, pull out the hock meat,. throw it back into the cooker, and give the rest to a lucky dog. Now, the put everything into the cooker; the vegetables, the beans, the seasonings, and the sausage. Add a bit more water to below the level of the food, and give it all a good stir to loosen it up Don’t fill that cooker much past halfway!
Put the lid on, bring it up to 15 psi, turn the heat as low as possible while keeping the pressure up, and turn off the cooker after 7 minutes. Once the pressure is down and it’s a cooled a little, get a look at things. I should look pretty watery, even soupy. It’s time to thicken it up; you can transfer it to another pot (and pull the hock bones and such as you need) or you can just leave it in the cooker to reduce. Cook on low heat at a simmer and bring the bottom crust off with a flat blade spoon. Keep things moving and worry whatever is sticking to the pot away gently until it goes back into the beans. If it does seem to be burning and you smell and see bits of black, turn take that pot off the heat and carefully put her into a new pot. Do not scrape that bottom! It brings that bitter burn up into things and the whole mess will be ruined. Try picking out those black specks and try adding a little vinegar to brighten out the glum that was brought in with the burn.
So, try to get the beans simmered down an inch or two. You can thicken it up by mashing those beans up against the side of the pot. Remember, it always thickens up appreciably. If it gets too thick, add some water before you reheat.
Serve on rice like gravy, and top with some pickled onions (recipe). Give it some hot sauce and maybe malt vinegar. Some good bread and butter is pretty nice too.