John and I bought an Instant Pot a month or so ago, and LOVE it. We had a traditional stove top pressure cooker that we've used for years, and have upgraded that once or twice over time to better technology. We eat a lot of beans and lentil-y kinds of things, so a pressure cooker really comes in handy.
We finally decided to cave and replace the one-pony-show stovetop thing with this. You can sauté in it, pressure cook, and slow cook, though we haven't used it for that yet. It makes hard boiled eggs like nobody's business. Once you set it, you can walk away and not worry about leaving a pressure cooker on an open flame.
Today's feature is bean soup. The place I buy most of my dried beans and legumes from is Purcell Mountain Farms. They have a huge variety, they are fresh, and the beans are impeccably clean. We eat a lot of beans, so it matters to me where they come from.
This started with a pound of their Paris Bistro Mix.
Lorette's Paris Inspired Bean Soup
1 Pound mixed beans/legumes/grains
Chopped yellow onion, about a cup, but whatever. If you have half of a big onion use it, or all of a smaller onion. Leeks would be good, too.
Olive oil, for sautéing (or your favorite substitute, we often use avocado oil for this)
Some Garlic. I used 2 big cloves. Your mileage may vary. This was for me to freeze for work lunches, so I didn't want to overdo it.
Sliced celery. Again, I used about a cup. As you might notice, I'm not big on specifics.
Carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced. About the same amount. You can vary all of these by what you have. ***
A small bell pepper, diced, this was a purple one I had in the fridge from last week's farmers market foray.
A handful of fresh herbs, chopped. This had parsley, marjoram, thyme, and oregano from our patio herb garden. And a bay leaf.
Pepper, fresh ground. To taste. I like pepper, so a big hearty couple teaspoons, sometimes I use more.
A half a can of diced tomatoes, more or less, partly drained. Freeze the other half of the can for the next batch of beans.
1 32 ounce box of chicken stock
1/2-3/4 cup of white wine, or vermouth
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt, again, to taste. See below for comments on salt.
Water. You want enough to cover the beans by at least 2-3 inches, but don't overfill the pot. The pot should not be more than 2/3 full.
You could use all stock, or all water. I tend to use a mix of both, since canned and boxed chicken stock is pretty salty.
Sauté the onion, celery, and pepper in some oil. Add the other ingredients, bring to a simmer. Change your settings to the pressure setting, and put your lid on etc based on your cooker's instructions.
Bring up to pressure, cook for 20-25 minutes. This will vary depending on the bean varieties you pick. The Purcell Paris Bistro blend took 23 minutes at pressure to all get soft. If you're not sure, go a few minutes low and do a quick release to check. I hate mushy beans, especially if they are going into the freezer.
Quick release, taste, add more time if you need to.
I'm not going to get into whether you should salt beans before you start cooking, at the end, or somewhere in between. When I cook them on the stove top, I tend to add the salt about 3/4 of the way through the cooking time. It's more fidgety to do that with a pressure cooker. I'm not 100% convinced that adding salt at the beginning is a bad thing, especially if your beans aren't from five years ago. And it changes the flavor when you add it just at the end, like a lot of seasoning. Since this was the first time I did this mix in the IP, I started at 18 minutes, it wasn't quite done, so added the salt and did another 5 minutes. The canned tomatoes and chicken stock add some salt, so take that into account.
I didn't soak these beans, since most of these were pretty small so I didn't bother. If you are using bean varieties that are larger, I'd probably soak.
And there you have it. Bean soup! I'll portion this out into serving size containers, and freeze for my lunches****.
Four for the freezer, and a larger one for me to eat this week!
***Other veggies work too, and you could do potatoes, or add some rice or pasta at the end. If you are using softer veggies, I'd cook the beans, release, add the stuff that doesn't take much cooking, then cook on the sauté setting until those were done. Since I'm freezing this for lunch food, I don't usually add stuff that turns to mush in the freezer.
****Of course, there won't be wine with my work lunches. Drat.