Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I have a confession to make...I lived in fear of my pressure cooker. A year or so ago I bought this shiny, new Fagor Duo Pressure Cooker with the intention of becoming a whiz at quick cooking my beans and grains in it...and then it sat in the box. And it sat...and sat...and then it sat some more. I just never worked up the nerve to do more than look through the instruction book. Irrational fear--most likely. My Mom swears that there was never an accident with her old school one that would sit on the burner, shake and and rattle with the steam coming out and the little top "thingy" (the technical term I believe), looking like it would fly off and put an eye out or worse at any second, but it still scared the crap out of me. So even though my shiny new pressure cooker looked nothing like the old school one my Mom used, the terror remained.

My friend, KCC cooking instructor and pressure cooking expert Alyssa Moreau offered to give me some lessons and pointers on using it but I never quite got it together to make it happen. When KCC finally put a "Cooking Under Pressure" class on the spring line-up, taught by Alyssa, I signed right up. I was all excited to go last week and then we had a little tsunami warning the morning of the class and everything got shut down--a good thing because hourly air sirens warning of approaching tsunamis and the pressure of pressure cooking would have been a combination not good for my fragile nerves! ;-) Luckily class was rescheduled for this weekend and me and my washed and buffed pressure cooker were ready to go and learn to work together (kind of like couple's therapy I guess). It turned out to be surprisingly easy. We made four recipes; a Vegetarian Paella, Orange Braised Butternut Squash with Ginger and Garlic, Maple Walnut Rice Pudding, and this Rainbow Lentil Soup. Delicious lentil soup that I can cook in 15 minutes?! I think that my pressure cooker and I are going to become great friends!

Pressure Cooker Rainbow Lentil Soup
by Alyssa Moreau
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 cups dry lentils, soaked overnight, drained
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery stalks, sliced
1 cup carrot, sliced 1/2" thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup yam, chopped
1 /2 cup daikon, chopped
1 Yukon gold potato, chopped
5 cups vegetable stock/water
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped fine
1/2 cup kale, collard greens or other greens, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

Saute onions in olive oil for a few minutes. Add in the celery, carrots, garlic, oregano, and bay leaf and cook a few minutes more. Add in the soaked lentils, yam, daikon, potato and broth (make sure liquid is a good 3-inches over the ingredients). Cover, bring to pressure. Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Add in the parsley, greens, tomato and season with salt, pepper and vinegar (optional) to taste and drizzle with olive oil.

Notes/Results: Hearty, healthy, delicious and oh so easy. This soup is full of good-for-you veggies that can of course be exchanged for any of your preferred vegetables. The balsamic vinegar adds a nice tangy flavor that really compliments the earthy lentils. This recipe calls for the lentils to be soaked overnight, easy enough, but you could also make it without soaking them beforehand. No pressure cooker? It is still a great soup and you could just make it as you would a regular lentil soup--it will just take longer to simmer everything and get the veggies cooked through. I would make this again. With some multi-grain baguette slices it made a great dinner for a cool, rainy evening, especially when followed by a serving of the pressure cooker Maple Walnut Rice Pudding we made, (about 10 minutes cooking time in the pressure cooker), drizzled with a little pure maple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. Ahh...comfort food!

P.S. One person brought their old school pressure cooker--like my Mom's to class and as much as I feel confident with mine now, that one still scares the crap out of me! ;-)

Let's take a look and see who is in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week and what delicious dishes they brought.

Christine from Kits Chow brought one of my very favorite soups: Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, (Pho bo). She says, "Vietnamese beef noodle soup, Pho bo, is a very healthy, tasty and satisfying meal in a bowl. Everybody loves pho! For Pho bo, cooked rice noodles are put in a bowl and topped with some thinly-sliced beef. Boiling beef broth is ladled directly over the beef. The raw beef and the broth meet and, in that brief moment, the beef is cooked. The soup is garnished with herbs and bean sprouts and it is ready to eat." Cooking authentic pho is not as easy as it looks, read Christine's post for all of the details.

Also using beef this week but with a recipe inspired from a different region is Kait from Pots & Plots with this Burgundy Beef Stew. Kait says, "I was in the mood for some variation of a beef stew, and this totally fit the bill. It was easy, filling and with four servings at 292 calories and 6.5 grams of fat, very healthy. I served it with herb and cheddar beer bread muffins."

Lee Ann from Mangos, Chili and Z chose a Spicy Lentil Soup this week. She says. "This is pretty easy to prepare. Once you’ve diced and chopped there’s one hour cooking time. Then grab your immersion blender and puree. Top with some onion rings, serve a side of your favorite fresh green garden salad, a chunk of crusty bread and you’ve got a great dinner. The vibrant color comes from a combination of the red lentils, carrots and turmeric. Beautiful to look at and loaded with flavor, I recommend you give it a try. (Did I mention it’s healthy as all get-out?)"

It's so nice to see Olivia from Cooking with Libby back with us again and with a healthy, warming Vegetable Soup from her childhood Girl Scout Cookbook. She says, "My whole family, kids included, absolutely loves this soup. When you make a pot of it, it makes the whole house smell yummy and inviting. It's also pretty darn healthy for you with all of those vegetables in it. This week, I made it with some buttermilk cornbread on the side. However, just about any side dish you serve with soup would be great with this."

My buddy Kim from Stirring the Pot says, "This Hearty Tomato Soup with Lemon and Rosemary Cream is definitely a grown-up version of the traditional tomato soup. This is a hearty soup, with lots of body, thanks in part to the addition of the cannelini beans. This recipe is another winner from Giada's Kitchen, which in my opinion, is her best cookbook yet. Check out the wonderful Pecorino Crackers Kim made to go with this soup on her post.

About her fusion version of Nigella's Hot and Sour Soup, Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies says, "This is a delicious and easy soup to make, providing you have a few Thai staples on hand. If you don't have Thai staples on hand go out and get some. It's okay, I'll wait.. The soup lends itself well to change and is indeed even more soothing with my addition of don don noodles, ready to eat Japanese noodles. (I mix and match my Asian cuisines shamelessly, I don't know how I get away with it.) Anyway, every soup is better with noodles, in my opinion."

The lovely Graziana from Erbe in Cucina is here with a yummy sandwich to go with all of those soups, her Turkey Sandwich with Thyme and Gorgonzola. She says, "Maybe I have to tell you why I have so many turkey leftovers (used also in the Turkey Tostadas with Jalapeno) in February: we enjoyed the turkey for the Thanksgiving, and my partner ask me to cook it again... and more. So, we also have some turkey leftovers and I choose a classic recipe: the sandwich with apple sauce."

Some great soups and a terrific sandwich too--a good week! Thanks to everyone who participated this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich you would like to share, click on the Souper Sunday logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a wonderful week!


  1. Yay for conquering your pressure cooker fears! Maybe you could teach me correspondence style..
    Love the lentil soup, thick and hearty. And that rice pudding - you must have made that for me!
    Thanks for the great round up.

  2. I'm scared of pressure cookers too! My grandmother had one with spagetti sauce blow up in her kitchen. It happened before I was even born, but her stories about it scared me off them forever. Your soup looks wonderful, though.

    My mother insisted on teaching me how to use a pressure canner last summer. I would gingerly put it on the stove and then stay as far away from it as I could until the pressure reached 10.

    Great roundup this week!

  3. Congrats on making friends with your pressure cooker;D The lentil soup look so thick and delicious, not to mention the maple rice pudding. I'd be a very happy camper eating that.

    Great roundup Deb! Thanks for including me.

  4. pressure cookers do scare me also, I'm glad you conquered your fears!

  5. Even though it's warming up here in MN (51 degrees today!), I'm always in the mood for soup! Love all the savory examples here. As for the pressure cooker, I'm still scared, although your lentil soup and that scrumptious rice pudding are motivation to get over it. 8-)

  6. great round up, it's cold again here, and all those soups make me feel warmer!

  7. I am totally scared of pressure cookers. My mom always had one. And it was one of the old school ones. And nothing bad ever happened with it. But I'm still terrified. And thus I don't have one.

    That maple rice pudding - I would get one just for that.

    Beautiful roundup!

  8. As always, love Souper Sunday. So many good soup ideas/recipes. I'm afraid of pressure cookers and for no reason. Thanks Deb.

  9. I fear the pressure cooker too! My Grandpa used to use one and my Grandma, who also feared it would freak out, herding me away from the kitchen with threats of 'it's gonna blow'. Your soup looks so good - I can't believe it only took 15 minutes - what a time saver!

  10. So glad you go to the class eventually - I am also a scaredy cat when it comes to pressure cookers. We had the tsunami warning here too, beaches shut etc etc. But it just turned into a quiet day and happily no tsunami!

  11. The hearty lentil soup sounds just perfect! Excellent roundup, everything looks so delicious!

  12. Wow, this is a serious post. My Mom make a crock pot lentil soup and it is delicious, but it is never quite this beautiful.
    I, like the others here, am a bit scared of my crock pot. I only use my cauldron and a few other key items. Maybe I should conquer my fear!

  13. Wow this is Souper... so, how did the class go? Let's see more pressure cooker recipes on your blog!


    hip pressure cooking
    making pressure cookers hip again, one recipe at a time!


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