It’s 104°F outside. Not exactly “soup” weather, but I’ve sworn off usage of all massive heat producing equipment in my house — no daytime dishwasher use, no dryer use (I’m letting Mother Nature and her 104°F fury dry my clothes outside), and no oven.
Surprisingly, not using the oven has been more limiting than I initially thought and has forced a bit of grill and stovetop creativity. I’ve broken out the pressure cooker for pot roast, grilled everything from salmon and tuna to steak and kabobs. Ready for something different, I decided to try beans in the pressure cooker again today.
One of my favorites, Navy Bean soup, I’ve always made in a crockpot. My problem with that is not only do you have to cook beans 8 to 10 hours in a crockpot, you have to soak beans at least 12 hours before you cook them. That’s more prep than I’m capable of preplanning for on most days.
The pressure cooker has always intrigued me, and one of the first things I made in a pressure cooker was homemade bean glue … I mean, soup. It was thick, and had a glue-like consistency. And it smelled funny. I have not tried it again, until today. And today’s try was absolutely a resounding success.
First, you can’t get away from the presoak. I’m sure there are many “quick” methods, but for me, the 12 hour soak cannot be replaced. Buy a package of 15 bean soup mix* and put the beans in a pot and cover with 2 quarts of water. Cover the pot and walk away for 12 hours (an overnight soak is perfect). When the soak time is over, rinse the beans and pick out debris. Now you’re ready to cook.
15 Bean Soup
1-1 pound bag of 15 Bean Soup beans*. Discard the seasoning packet.
1 smoked ham hock
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup chopped celery (about two ribs)
1 carrot, shredded
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
1 48 oz. can chicken broth and enough water added to make 2 quarts
Additional cooked, chopped ham (optional)
Soak the beans overnight in 2 quarts of water. You’ll discard the seasoning packet and the soak water.
In your pressure cooker, heat oil and saute the celery, onion, jalapeno and carrot just until tender.
Once the veggies are tender, add ham hock, beans, seasonings and 2 quarts of liquid. Heat to boil, lower heat and simmer 10 minutes. After simmer, cover the pressure cooker, lock the lid and bring to full pressure. Reduce heat to maintain a steady hiss, and pressure cook for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove from heat and allow pressure to release naturally. Once you’re able to remove the lid, remove the ham hock and set aside to cool. Once cool, remove any meat on the hock and return it to the pot, along with any additional cooked ham you wish to add at this point.
Dish up and serve!
*If you want to make your own 15 bean mix, I found a site that suggesting combining 1 pound each of dried black beans, red beans, kidney beans, navy beans, great northern beans, baby lima beans, large lima beans, pinto beans, green split peas, yellow split peas, black eyed peas, red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils and cranberry beans. The advantage of making your own mix is of course you can leave out beans you don’t care for (I am so not a fan of large lima beans). I’ve never seen cranberry beans in my life, and if I actually find them, I’ll certainly post where. I’m actually curious as to how making your own mix might compare, cost-wise, to buying the one pound packages at the store.