Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Best, Easiest, Fastest, Smokey, Spicy Multi-Bean Soup with Ham...and other recipe ideas.....oh, and more reasons to buy and use a pressure cooker!

Whoops, you don't have a pressure cooker, or know how to use the one you have? Well, you better learn quick.....or take the word "fastest" out of the recipe title, lol! I am forever indebted to Fawn Friday for introducing me to the pressure cooker, but also reminding me of the convenience and versitility of the flavor punch you can get from canned chipotle chilis!

The Best, Fastest, Smokey, Spicy Multi-Bean Soup with Ham

onion & celery, diced (jalapeno is always optional in my house, lol)
garlic (of course)
1-2 canned chipotle chilis
1 can diced tomatoes (sm or lg, depending on how many beans and grains you use)
1/4 c. tomato paste (or more)

multi bean soup mixture, soaked overnight, or quick soak method (or your own mix of at least 4-8 different beans, lentils, split pea and barley (never use more than 1/4-1/2 c. barley!)
1 lg smoked ham shank, or 3-4 sm smoked ham hocks

In your pressure cooker, saute onion and celery in oil, about 5 min., adding garlic during the last minute. Stir in chipotle chili, canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste (deglaze the bottom of the pot with the liquid in the canned tomatoes), add bean mixture and smoked ham shank with enough water to cover. Lock lid in place, bring to high pressure, cook 20 minutes, let pressure come down naturally. Fish out the ham shank and shred meat before returning to pot. (whoops....also, fish out the chipotles...their job is done, and you don't want to bite into one of those bad boys!)

You can make this same exact soup in a large soup pot, bring all ingredients to a boil, turn heat down to simmer, cover slightly and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

The difference between a ham shank and a ham hock......a shank is the portion cut from higher on the leg and has more meat, the hock is mostly bone and cartilage (gristle) with very little meat.

Personally, I made a smokey stock with the shank on it's own, removed and shredded the meat, and then strained it before making the stock into soup with the addition of a turkey thigh while it was cooking, adding the ham meat back in at the end. The first time I threw this together I was "pantry diving" and found this "17 Bean and Barley" mixture from Trader Joe's....I usually don't buy these types of mixtures because they cost about $1.69-$1.99 per lb, and single beans are $.99 a pound, so I mix my own from leftover dry bulk beans I buy. the other thing I don't like about these premixed packages is that you cannot seperate the grains and legumes from the beans for a proper soak (lentils and peas don't need to soak, although I do like my barley both ways, pre-soaked or not), but what the hell, use what you have or what's convenient for you.

Wild Rice

Last week I purposely roasted a turkey to make soup! And one of the flavors that goes well with turkey is wild rice. I like a mixture of wild rice, red rice and brown rice, not only for a milder flavor, but I like the way it looks too! I make the mixture in the PC and use it in salads as well, sometimes adding dried cranberries.

Leftover Salad

Here's a salad I made for lunch with some of the leftover roasted turkey breast.

dried cranberries
mayo/yogurt dressing

I could of added a splash of cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar, but I wasn't in the mood.

Here's a book I highly reccommend, not only for the recipes, although there are many good ones, but for the information on how to use a pressure cooker. The author, Lorna Sass, is this country leading authority on pressure cooking. It may be too lae for Xmas, but make it Christmas in your kitchen everyday of the year by getting in the habit of making homemade meals fast and easy...treat yourself, it's less than the cost of a large pizza, lol! (And, Leslie....she has a vegetarian pressure cooker cookbook too!)
And buy your pressure cooker (s) from the Veggie Queen, Jill Nussinow's website! http://theveggiequeen.com/index.html


Diana said...

This soup sounds fantastic! I will probably exchange the ham for either buffalo or elk (have to watch the salt-I'm off BP meds and I want to keep it that way!)
Happy Holidays to you and your family-I hear ya on the over doing it! Sucks to be OCD-and yet fun :P
Keep a swingin'!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Tracy, I just wanted to say thank you for introducing me to pressure cooking. I now have 4 meals that I cook using it. I can't wait to try the bean soup! Happy Holidays, Gina

Jen said...

Merry Christmas to you and Mark!

Your recipes and instructions are always great and I know (first hand) that the outcome is even yummier!

Sending you warmth and love from my kitchen to yours!

(P.S. I got my tests and lots to tell..all of it on CD! I'll blog about it when I can figure out how to make sense of it! LOL)