Tuesday, November 16, 2010
A NEW PRESSURE COOKER; A FAVORITE LENTIL SOUP RECIPE
The second thing I made in my new Cuisinart electric pressure cooker-- an old favorite: Monastery Lentil Soup.
Okay, I have to make up for lost time with Vegan MoFo! In order to do 20 blogs this month I have to blog every remaining day in November, plus one extra! I've been meaning to blog about my new electric pressure cooker, but hadn't got around to it. A good friend of mine had been raving about it and gave it to me as a gift-- and what a wonderful gift!
I was "between pressure cookers". This was because I had a kitchen disaster. I started cooking something in my Lagostina 5 qt. stainless steel pressure cooker (with aluminum bottom) on the stove and got sidetracked downstairs in my office. Fortunately, the pot was was not under pressure (maybe I would have heard it if it had been!). Later I smelled something, ran upstairs and I had melted the bottom of the pressure cooker! The lid was ruined and there were globs of melted aluminum in the stove element. When DH came home I told him, "The good news is the house didn't burn down; the bad news is my pressure cooker is finished!" Fortunately, we were able to pry off the solidified aluminum globs from the stove element and sand off the residue, so it was okay.
Anyway, I hadn't decided which type to buy yet, when my kind friend sent me this beautiful electric version! Fortunately, I found a spot for it in my already crowded, small kitchen (I like to keep appliances that I use often out in the open-- fortunately I have deep counters), by shifting the smaller rice cooker to another spot. This cooker is great-- it has a nonstick insert and has "saute", "brown", and "simmer" modes, as well has 2 pressure settings, and "keep warm" (it automatically goes on "keep warm" when the pressure goes down). You have to set the timer before it will heat to pressure, so it will remind you when it's done, and it will start losing pressure. So no chance of disaster! You can use a quick-release, or let the pressure drop naturally.
It didn't take me long to learn how to use it, and I made a Cuban black bean soup the first time-- it took about an hour from start to finish (including pressure release) with dried beans (unsoaked)! I'll post that recipe later.
The second recipe I made was an old favorite lentil soup recipe which my kids will remember from their childhoods. It's so easy to make and very full-flavored. And I love that you can saute the vegetables right in the nonstick insert. I hope you like it! It's perfect for a cold night!
BRYANNA'S MONASTERY LENTIL SOUP
Pressure Cooker Version: Before adding the wine and parsley, pressure cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. Use natural pressure release. Then proceed to add the wine, etc..
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped (I like to use a food processor for this)
1 large carrot, scrubbed and coarsely grated
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
14 oz. can diced tomatoes OR 6 T. tomato paste mixed with 1 c. water
2 c. water
3 c. vegetarian broth (see this post)
1 c. dried brown lentils
1 tsp. salt
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1/4 c. dry sherry
1/4 c. chopped parsley
dairy-free soy parmesan to sprinkle on top ( your favorite, or my Okara Parmesan)
In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté them until the onions have softened. Add the herbs and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT for the pepper, sherry, parsley and vegan parmesan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until the lentils are tender. Add the wine, parsley and pepper to taste. Simmer a few more minutes and serve with the soy parmesan.