Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hooked on Bean Soup

You would think with the arrival of summer I'd be eating salads, not soups!  But now that I've discovered "fresh" dried beans at my FM (mail order is also an option) I'm hooked....and it couldn't be easier using a pressure cooker. I just scored two 1lb bags of large Italian butter beans, just in time because I  already used my only other 1lb bag of Blue Coke beans I bought last weekend.

I can't believe how simple, fast and easy, I didn't even saute the veggies!

Cut into 1/2-3/4 inch pieces, (pretty large),

carrots, throw them in 4-6qt PC pot with
pre soaked beans (1 1/2 c.)
1 bulb of garlic (bottom 1/3 cut off)
1 bundle of fresh thyme (tied together with kitchen twine)

Cover with stock, about 6-8 c.  Lock the lid on, bring pressure to high, cook for 10-15 min, let pressure come down naturally (10 min).  Remove lid, remove garlic and thyme (shake the thyme in the soup to release small leaves), taste for seasonings (salt!)


greens to cook in residual heat (kale and collards take longer than chard or spinach, and in fact I put the lid back on for 20 min to keep the heat in)
pre cooked meat (see below)

You can brown the meat first, and then continute on with the recipe as written above, only you would cook everything together for as long as it takes the meat to cook. 12-15 min for chicken (no boneless breasts please), or beef / lamb/ pork stew meat.  If the stew meat is cut into small pieces then the same amount of time 15 min, if using one large piece then 25-35 min...which may overcook your beans, fyi (which is why I use the following method)

I admit I take the extra step of making my stock first because I like to strain it (it's a prettier soup, less cloudy). The other benefit is that you can remove the fat if you use a gravy separator, or put it in the fridge overnight and remove the hardened fat the next day.  Personally I don't remove the fat to remove the all the fat!  But I never use "lean" cuts of meat so there is always fat left in the meat, and although fat is not the enemy, you don't want a soup or stew swimming in fat!

I pressure cook my chicken (leg/thigh seperated from whole breast left on the bone.) or a big, bone in, hunk of pork shoulder butt (2 1/2-3 lb)12 min for chicken, 25 min for pork, AFTER pressure come to high.  I then release the pressure and fish out my meat. Let it cool until I can shred it from the bones and set aside. Replace the bones back in the stock, add leftover onion, celery and carrot pieces I keep stored in my freezer, and cook it on high pressure for an additional 25 min or so, again manually release pressure and strain through a clean towel.  (If I want to use the stock right away I pour it into a large gravy separator)  Now I have rich stock and pre cooked meat protein to put back in my soup or to use in a salad.

Really it takes no prep time, it only takes cooking time, and since I'm in the habit it's easy and I could never go back to using canned stocks or broths.  I prepare my stock as I'm doing other things around the house or kitchen and then continue on to make my soup, which takes less that 30 minutes with the stock and the meat already done.  Most batches of soup make at least 3 qts, plenty to eat for a few days and a couple of containers for the freezer.

Since Mark and I are leaving for San Diego tomorrow and I know I can't take soup with me (Federal regulations) I ended up eating soup for lunch twice and dinner once!  The rest will be here waiting for me on Sunday, and some will go into the freezer.  And still I can't wait to make more!


shortnginger said...

Hi tracy - do you make your own stock?
if so how do you count the calories?



shortnginger said...

whoops should have read further down the post before i asked the question!

how do you count the calories though?

Tracy Reifkind said...


no calories in, zip! Nothing caloric in it.

shortnginger said...




Tracy Reifkind said...

I know! Crazy good stuff, huh?