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”4 – and then recommend using chicken stock in the soup. As he said: “I love the recipe, but that’s not vegetarian.”5
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.6
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)
Pressure cooker bean mix soup recipe. 13, 14, 15 beans…whatever it takes.
- 20 ounces dried bean mix, sorted and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, cut into small dice
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 6 cups water
- 1 (15 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Salt to taste (2 teaspoons more kosher salt?)
- Soak the beans: Soak the beans overnight: Sort the bean mix, removing broken beans, stones, or dirt clods. Rinse the beans and put them in a large container with the salt. Cover with 2 quarts water. Let the beans soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Saute the aromatics: Heat the oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute until the onions are softened and browning around the edges, about 8 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and the coriander, and saute for one minute to toast the spices.
- Pressure cook the beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Pour the beans into the pressure cooker. Stir in the water, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, and cook at high pressure for 18 minutes in an electric PC, or 15 minutes in a stovetop PC. Turn off the heat and let the pressure release naturally, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot.
- Thicken, season, and serve Fish out the bay leaves and discard. Puree 2 cups of beans and liquid – I use a 4 cup measure and my stick blender – and stir back into the pot. Taste the soup and add salt until the soup tastes sweet and full bodied, and you can just feel the taste of salt on the tip of your tongue. (I added 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to get the taste I wanted.) Serve.
- 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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