Saturday, October 2, 2010

Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup with ham
We bought a Kuhn Rikon Duromatic pressure cookers a few years back to replace an older aluminum cooker.  This stainless steel cooker works like a dream - always quickly coming up to pressure and never leaking or hissing.

I use the cooker at least once a week if not more to cook dried beans.  For lunch today - black bean soup.  I'm in the mood for a warm and spicy soup.

I soaked a few cups of dried black beans for a few hours then rinsed.  Place the soaked beans and enough water to cover in a pressure cooker.  Once the cooker has achieved temperature, turn heat down low to sustain pressure.  Black beans that weren't soaked over night will take 45 minutes to cook at our elevation.  To retain the bean's whole-bean shape and texture, let the pressure escape naturally off heat.  Quickly releasing pressure using cold water on the lid turns the beans mushy, which isn't what I want for this recipe.

While beans are cooking, saute 1/2 an onion and garlic in a swig of olive oil.  When  nice and soft, add cumin seeds, ground cumin and paprika and quickly stir around the hot pan.  Add a swig of salsa then add cooked black beans.  Pinto beans work well here too. 

Most days I would have served this as a vegan dish but today we had some ham so I minced it up and threw it in the pot.

To serve, add a splash of lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper and fresh cilantro, if available.

We buy dried beans and peas in large quantities, usually 25 pound sacks.  The large sacks are stored in our basement and I keep enough on hand upstairs in the kitchen using large glass jars. 

Kidney, pinto, popcorn, black eyed peas, black, chick, elbow macaroni, quinoa, green lentils, and rice.


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