Pressure Cooker Bean Mix Soup
This is a reprint of a recipe I posted last February. I lost it in my blog migration, but I didn’t realize it was missing until last week. Whoops. Here it is again, to get it back on the blog.
A commenter was giving me a hard time…and I deserved it. In my pressure cooker french lentil recipe, I talk about “vegetarian once a week”1 – and then recommend using chicken stock in the soup. As he said: “I love the recipe, but that’s not vegetarian.”2
So, I set out to make a truly vegetarian bean soup. It was hard. I had to fight the urge to throw a ham hock in there to add some smoky flavor. I went with chili powder instead.3
What makes me think “vegetarian soup”? Multi bean soup, of course. If I’m cooking vegetarian, I want all the beans. Now, I wanted to call this “15 bean soup®”, but I can’t. That name is a registered trademark of the Hurst Beans company, and I don’t want to face the lawyers.
Now, why would they register a trademark for bean soup? Because it’s such a good idea. Take a bunch of different sizes of leftover beans, mix them together, and there it is – soup. Tiny beans, like peas and lentils, dissolve and thicken the broth; large beans are creamy and tender, giving the soup some chew. The result is a hearty soup, perfect for the depths of February.
There are so many bean mixes out there. 13, 14, 15 beans; whatever it takes. I usually get lucky 13 – Bob’s Red Mill 13 bean soup mix is stocked at my local Acme grocery store. You can even make your own mix; it’s a great way to use up any leftover beans. (Or you can do it in the bulk section of your grocery store, if you have the patience to bag small amounts of lots of beans. I’d get at least seven beans in a range of sizes.)
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Bean Mix Soup
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot Electric PC)
- Sorting the bean mix is a pain – with all the different types of beans, it’s tough to find dirt clods and stones. That doesn’t mean you should skip it, though.
- Want to go full carnivore? Replace half the water with homemade chicken stock, and add a ham hock to the beans for added smoky goodness. Take it out after cooking, let it cool, and shred it. Discard the bones, gristle, and fat, and stir the meat back into the pot.
- Forgot to soak? Increase the cooking time to 35 minutes at high pressure in a stovetop PC, 45 minutes in an electric PC. (Yes, it takes a long time to cook the larger beans.) Let the pressure come down naturally. Don’t try a quick soak; I did that once – once – and it turned the smaller peas and lentils in the mix into mush. An overnight soak is the way to go.
- Please, do not forget to season to taste at the end! Soup tastes bland and flat without added salt. Don’t worry if it seems like a lot of salt – you’re still adding a lot less salt than you’d get in canned beans.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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