Thursday, June 23, 2011

Go Big or Go Home! Turkey Ham soup w/ white beans and lentils

As I mentioned in a previous blogpost Santa brought me two gifts: my immersion blender and a 10 qt pressure cooker. You might think that I wouldn't need another pressure cooker but the largest one I had was an 8qt, perfectly fine, but I wanted one even bigger!

One of my dieting philosophies is to plan and prepare in advance. For me having good foods ready and available is key. In addition to salads I live on soups/stews and chilis and pressure cooking has made these meals quick and easy to make, not to mention highly nutritious and inexpensive. Part of the quick and easy is not only the time it takes to actually cook proteins that traditionally take 1-2 hoursin 1/3 the time, but pressure cooking decreases the amount of prep time because I can add a whole head of garlic and a whole bunch of herbs without having to chop them. Pressure cooking adds nutrition and saves money by allowing me to use bone in cuts of meat that also adds flavor while making it's own stock as it cooks.

Without a doubt I see a 12qt in my future!

Turkey Ham Soup w/ white beans and lentils

What's not to like about ham and split pea soup? The most common answer I get is that alot of people have the prejudice left over from childhood because of the mucky green color! Split pea is one of my favorite soups and one I make regularly. But if you are turned off by the color then use beans instead. All of the other ingredients stay the same.

Most of the time I use ham shanks, although ham shanks don't have much meat. I started to use smoked turkey legs and thighs which are much much larger and have a ton more well as a bone for flavor. Because smoked turkey legs and thighs are so large they also have a ton more salt! So much that I ususally will also add to the soup a plain unsmoked turkey thigh. Either hams are inexpensive, but you can use any kind of cut of smoked cured meat (ham).

A while back I didn't have any split peas in my pantry so I decided to use white beans. since I wanted to make a really big batch (I had all that meat, might as well!) I added in lentils. The result? I had never realized that white beans were so creamy...yum yum! I'm not sure I will ever use split peas again!

Here is my recipe for Split Pea Soup;

The recipe is the same only for a really big batch use one smoked turkey leg/thigh and one regular turkey thigh. Replace the 1lb pkg of split peas with one 1 lb pkg of small white beans (navy beans, pre soaked) and 2 cups of lentils (I used 1 c brown lentils and 1 c. green lentils) with 3-4 qts of water (12-16 c.) Bring PC to high pressure, and then turn down heat and cook for 20-25 min. Traditionally split pea soup would take 1 1/2 hours on the stove top.

Don't forget a good squeeze of lemon on top!


Alison and Larry said...

Curious what difference is between my slow cooker and pressure cooker. I bought slow cooker, but find I only use it for soups and chili. Can your pressure cooker recipes be used in slow cookers -- time added of course.

Juci RKC said...

This looks promising.
I sooo would like to try your recipes, but some of the ingredients just don't exist over here. Or rather, I have no idea as to what they can be.

Nevertheless, I think I would like to cook a bean soup for you, Hungarian stlye, and will be excited to hear your opinion about it.
Would you taste anything of this kind? It's a very rich soup and there are smoked meat and sour cream in it.

Tracy Reifkind said...


There are alot of differences between the two and I'll actually have to do some research to get it all right. In the mean time there is plenty of information online if you google the question.

For me the biggest difference besides time is the fact that you can brown food in the pressure cooker and in a slow cooker you just dump stuff in....unless you do the browning in a differnt pot and then put it in a slow cooker.

There is debate on which cooking method preserves nutrition and it seems as if pressure cooking is better for vegetables because PC's use steam as part of the cooking process.

A PC is also the only way to cook dry beans, only 3-6 minutes in most cases (after a pre-soak). Since many of the meals I make include dry beans and lentils (or split pea) they would not translate in a slow cooker as these ingedients need a high temperature to cook correctly.

I know many people that swear by the slow cooker and the bottom line is to use whatever gets you to cook more home made meals!

I will be writing more about PC-ing as it is a huge part of my cooking life!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I love any kind of new food experiences. I hope I can be your kitchen assistant so I can learn as well as taste!

I've actually looked for websites about Hungarian recipes so it'll be fun for me to get a real life experience.

Maribel said...

great modifications to traditional Split Pea. I love white beans, like you said, they're so creamy.

Have you tried pork with black beans? It's a traditional dish from the Yucatán called Frijol con Puerco, translates to Beans with Pork. You cook the beans with 2 inch chunks of pork, you can keep it lean if you want, bone, whatever you like, salt and a sprig of Epasote (an herb, I'll bring you some from my garden). That's it. Cook like you would regular beans in the PC, just include the pork.

It's simple, but you doctor up the soup with "fixin's" when you serve. These are diced fresh veggies: radishes, fresh onions, avocado, tomato, hot peppers (jalapeño or serrano), cilantro and a dash of lemon.

Dawn said...

Yup, I'm getting me a pressure cooker. I love anything that cooks meat quickly & keeps it tender.
I'll be watching for more recipes!

Juci RKC said...

you're hired :)
Most certainly.
Warning: the cook and the assistant must drink plenty of wine during cooking :)

I'll email you about timetable matters.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I do black beans and pork all the time. Pork shoulder/butt is probably my favorite thing to cook in the pressure cooker. It was the very first think I learned.

Thanks for reminding me of radishes though....I think redishes are one of the best produce bargains ever. Love the crunch!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Since Maribel commented about pork I may have to do a pork shoulder next. It's a huge and inexpensive cut of meat that you can use all kinds of ways.

Tracy Reifkind said...


Drinking wine and cooking is one of the best combinations.....count me in!

Mark Reifkind said...


don't forget I'm the Chefs assistant too. Wine too, please :))

Juci RKC said...