From the everyday black beans to the occasional brisket, I use a ten year old Italian pressure cooker for virtually all soups, stews and complex casseroles. It reduces any cooking process by a third of the normal time on a common pot, and maintains all vitamins and minerals inside, and straight to our plate. Not to mention the low energy consumption.
Throughout the years - I got one as a wedding gift from my mother in law-, I learned how not to to be scared by its music. Mine doesn't have the pressure clock and the rubber, like my grandmother's outdated one, and it is pretty safe. I read that the current models are very silent, and even more efficient than the one I have. This evolution is a ongoing process since 1679, when a creative French man created the first model of pressure cooker.
One small piece of advice: to make sure it will work well and safely always read the manual. But some good old tips to facilitate its use: always let it stop releasing pressure before considering opening it, and if in a hurry, take its pressure under running water on a heat-proof kitchen sink.
Everyday Black Beans Brazilian Style
4 cups overnight soaked black beans (with no water left from the soak)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 stripes smoked uncured bacon or chopped smoked kielbasa (optional)
1 teaspoon bay leaves
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Fresh water, enough to cover the beans plus 3 more inches
Heat olive oil. Add bacon or kielbasa (if chosen), garlic, bay leaves and let all fry for some minutes. Add black beans, stir and top with water, filling up to 3 inches up the beans. Cook on medium heat and when whistle begins lower heat for 30 minutes. Enjoy the most simple everyday black beans Brazilian style over California white long rice.