Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup
My youngest son, Tim, has turned into a bean fanatic. Black, pinto, kidney…it doesn’t matter, he loves beans with just a little sea salt sprinkled on them. Yes, sea salt. I brought home fleur de sel de Camargue from my trip to Provence, and it is Tim’s favorite. I love watching him carefully pry off the cap, pinch two fingers worth of salt, and carefully sprinkle it over his beans in a circular motion.
The only problem is, I can’t keep up with his demand for beans! I used to make a pound of beans at a time, and I would have a couple of two-cup containers left over that I could freeze for make-ahead beans. Now I only get one extra container, and Tim eats it for lunch the next day.
*As far as problems go, this is a good one to have. I love that Tim is eating his beans. But I’m going to have to start doubling my bean recipes to get ahead of him.
I’ve been trying out a bunch of simple bean recipes to find new ones that pass Tim’s “yuck factor” test. (If there is too much other stuff in there, he’s not going to eat it.) This vegetarian black bean soup is one of my favorites. I love the combination of earthy black beans with cumin, coriander and oregano. Pureeing some of the beans gives the soup a thick, rich, creamy body. One of the keys to the recipe is to season the soup heavily at the end; the lime gives it a hint of fruit and acid, but the soup needs a lot of salt and pepper to bring the flavors out. When making soup, seasoning to taste makes difference between bland and delicious.
The best part is, by pre-soaking the beans and using my pressure cooker, I can have this hearty soup ready in a half an hour.*
*I use a brine for pre-soaking the beans, as suggested by Cooks Illustrated. This helps season the beans, and really adds to the flavor of the recipe.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Black Bean Soup
Inspired By: Lorna Sass Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure
- Pressure Cooker (Any 6 quart or larger PC will do. I love my monster Kuhn Rikon 12 Quart Stockpot.)
*Non-vegetarian soup: Start the soup by sauteing a little chorizo or Italian sausage; or, add a smoked ham hock or turkey leg to the pot with the beans. Substituting homemade chicken stock for some of the water is also a good idea.
- Don’t have a pressure cooker? Cook the soup in a dutch oven, and increase the water to 6 cups. In step 3, bring the beans to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until tender.
- If you don’t want to soak the beans, or you forgot to soak them (um…like I do all the time), sort and rinse them, put them in the pot with 7 cups of water, and increase the time under high pressure to 30 minutes. Continue with the recipe starting with the natural pressure release.
- These beans have a Tex-Mex flavor profile, with the cumin and lime. I like to serve them with tortillas, or if I’m not feeling like a gourmet that night, Fritos. If you would like more of a Caribbean flavor, try the aromatics and seasonings from my slow cooker Caribbean black beans with the pressure cooker technique I describe above.
Lorna Sass Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure
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