Instant Pot Black Bean and Barley Stew

I’m discovering that I like keeping track of my Instant Pot recipes so I know how much beans and salt to put in, and how long to cook for. But the rest is open to improvisation, and it always somehow comes out good. Instant Pot cooking seems to be very, very forgiving.

  • 1.5 cups dried black beans
  • 1.5 cups pearled barley
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (optional, for soaking)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 dried chili pepper, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Soak beans and barley in boiling water with apple cider vinegar in the Instant Pot for 2-24 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly until water runs reasonably clear. (I’m pretty sure soaking is optional, but I’m still in the habit of doing it if I have time.)

Fill the pot with water or broth to 2 inches above the beans and barley. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook on the “Beans/Chili” setting for 25 minutes.

Just before serving, pour the olive oil on top and stir it in. (Optional, but tasty.)


Ferment Oatmeal with Miso

From the comments section here: a recipe for fermenting oatmeal using miso.

South River Porridge

1 cup rolled oats
2 cups water
2 teaspoons light miso (see note below)

Cook oatmeal in the evening 5-10 min., or until water is absorbed. (Do not use salt in the cooking.) Let oatmeal cool down to body temperature and then stir miso thoroughly into the warm cereal. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature (about 70°). Reheat in the morning (without boiling) and serve.

Without imparting a noticeable taste of its own, the enzymatic power of the miso will liquefy the cereal, unlocking its essential nutrition, creating a wholesome sweet taste as it ferments overnight.

Other whole, rolled, cracked, or ground, cereal grains may be used, although cooking times will vary as necessary. Many pre-industrialized peoples fermented their grains to gain the most energy and nutritional strength from them.

Note: For this recipe it is necessary to use an unpasteurized light miso, rich in amylase enzymes. Choose South River Chick Pea, Sweet Tasting Brown Rice, Azuki Bean, or Sweet White Miso.

Creamy Oat Milk

Follow the same recipe above using 3 cups of water to 1 cup rolled oats. In the morning use a blender to transform the liquid porridge into a smooth milk. Strain if desired, heat and serve. Delicious with a touch of ginger!

Brown Rice

Brown rice confuses me. On the one hand, may sources say to do what I did with the millet, which is a 7-hour soak in warm water with 2 tbsp of something acidic.

On the other hand, the best method is supposed to be the one where you reserve a portion of the soaking liquid each time, and use it for soaking the next time. After several iterations, the phytates are nearly gone.

The original source is here. The comments section had very useful information.

The blog source quoting it is here.

Here is a slightly different method that involves using a quart of reserved water, and whey. It sounds like a hassle, but the author describes the difference in taste in the brown rice, which to me is one reason to make it worth trying.

According to the comments section of the first link, whey doesn’t contain any phytase, so it’s not directly responsible for breaking down the phytates. But the acidic medium does help.

Finally, here is info on germinating and sprouting brown rice.

Oats, Revisited

Various sources say that soaking alone is not enough to reduce phytates in oatmeal. The Nourishing Home recommends adding some other grains with higher phytase content.

The one exception to the above soaking rule is oats. Oats contain a large amount of hard-to-digest phytates and other anti-nutrients. Unfortunately oats are so low in phytase (the enzyme that helps to break down phytates), that soaking them in warm water mixed with an acid medium is not enough to adequately break down the large amount of anti-nutrients that naturally occur.

However, with the help of some additional phytase added to the soak (in the form of rolled rye flakes, or if you’re GF use ground buckwheat groats – both are high in phytase) – along with a full 24-hour soak time – a fairly decent amount of the anti-nutrients can be removed, making the oats more digestible and nutritionally sound.

Here is her recipe for oatmeal:

Phytase in Grains, Legumes, and Nuts

I downplayed the Cure Tooth Decay website earlier because it contains anti-vaxxer commentary, but this article on phytase looks good because it provides references. I plan on investigating these references later. This is important in part because I’m getting the impression that simply soaking oatmeal as I’ve been doing is a waste of time as far as phytase is concerned.

At a glance, I can tell that the section on oatmeal is more-or-less lifted straight from the WAPF website.

Preparing Grains

This is a little confusing. Some sites recommend yogurt, some say kefir is ok too, some recommend whey, and I think some recommend just water or acid. I plan on starting with the millet, but still haven’t finished researching options.

A good overview from Nourished Kitchen:

First hit that came up on Google:

“You can lacto ferment whole grains before cooking them by soaking them in tepid water with a couple of teaspoons of whey (from strained yogurt) or kefir. keep for 24 hours at room temperature, strain and then cook in the usual way. This can also be done with lemon juice or vinegar in place of the whey. Porridge is also best made this way with whey/kefir, as it has the highest phytate content of all grains.

Recipes containing grain flour, bean flour or nut meal can also be soaked in this way. Simply add the liquid ingredients to the flours, including a teaspoon of lemon juice, two of whey, or some actual yogurt in the recipe. Leave for 24 hours at room temperature and add the rest of the ingredients. You’ll find that breads are fluffier and more toothsome, and raising agents work better this way.”

A page on teff:

“Teff only requires 36 hours or less to sprout – the shortest time of any grain.”

Fermented Oatmeal

I tried this recipe for fermented oatmeal from Soak 1 cup oatmeal in 1 cup water with 2 tbsp yogurt overnight for 8-24 hours.

With an overnight soak, the taste was about what you’d expect from oatmeal and yogurt, not exceptionally earth-shattering.

I liked it better the second time I tried it, with a 24 hour soak using kefir. The flavor wasn’t sour at all, but a little extra nutty and complex.

Nora refused to eat it until my mom mixed it with some full-fat, plain yogurt. I might want to try coconut milk sometime, just to change things up for both her and me.