There's no reliable statistics on how many tons of beans are cooked everyday in Brazilian homes for the family mid-day meal, though it's absolutely clear that the quantity IS in the tons. Brazilian mid-day meals almost always include beans and rice in addition to whatever else is being served that day.
Making beans is part of a Brazilian home kitchen's everyday morning schedule, whether that kitchen is run by a housewife/mother herself, or by a domestic servant. Another day, another pot of beans. If these beans were cooked the way most North American and European cooks make beans - soaking the dried beans overnight, then cooking them on the stove for an hour or two until the are fully cooked and ready to eat - these cooks would spend a good portion of their waking hours cooking beans.
That doesn't happen though, thanks to the continued use of pressure cookers in Brazil, even though they have almost disappeared in other parts of the world. Again, there nor no reliable statistics, but anecdotal evidence would indicate that by far the largest portion of those tons of beans were cooked in a pressure cooker. If you ask a Brazilian cook if they make beans in a pressure cooker, you're likely to get a stunned expression and a quick "of course" as a response. Brazilians just can't imagine why anyone would cook beans any other way. Presoaking isn't required, the cooking time is a mere 15 minutes, and even if you take into account the half an hour that you need to let the pressure cooker cool, the whole process can be done in under an hour. With all the other tasks needed to get the family meal on the table, that's a blessing. At least that's how Brazilian cooks seem to take it.
Flavors of Brazil published a non-pressure cooker recipe for basic Brazilian beans some time back. You can find it by clicking here. However, if you have a pressure cooker lying around somewhere, unused, why not get it out and try making beans the Brazilian way. Here's how:
RECIPE - Pressure Cooker Beans (Feijão na Panela de Pressão)
2 cups dried beans (any kind - Pinto, black, etc.)
4 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs cilantro, whole
2 green onions, whole
salt and black pepper to taste
Wash and pick over the beans. Put them in a 4 quart or larger pressure cooker. Add four cups water, the cilantro, green onions and the bay leaf. Cover the pressure cooker and heat on stove according to directions. When the pressure takes (the cooker begins to whistle and steam) reduce heat slightly and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve. Do NOT open the pressure cooker.
After about 30 minutes, check the pressure in the cooker. If there is no pressure remaining you can open the pan. Remove the cilantro, green onion and bay leaf and discard them. Let the beans and their liquid sit in the pressure cooker.
In a cast iron frying pan heat the vegetable oil. When hot but not smoking add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and transparent but not brown. Reduce heat. With a ladle, remove about one ladleful of beans from the pressure cooker and about one ladleful of their liquid. Add to the frying pan and coarsely mash the beans with the back of the ladle. Cook for a few minutes, then return contents of the frying pan to the pressure cooker. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately, or let cool completely. Can be stored in the refrigerator for two days or in the freezer for up to a month.