A Hearty, Slightly Tuscan Influenced Bean Soup
It wasn’t my intention to take a brief hiatus from this blog, but with having gotten married in December, then the holidays sneaking up on me, before I knew it, here we are in 2014 and I didn’t even post any awesome holiday recipes! But finally things are settling down a bit, so here is a recipe for a nice, warming winter soup.
The problem with winter soups where I live (particularly this winter), is that when you do your shopping and when you prepare the meals can be like two entirely different seasons. For instance, when I bought these ingredients on a Sunday, temperatures were in the mid-fifties F. On Tuesday when I prepared this dish, it was 85 degrees during the day, but had at least cooled down some by the time I got home from work. But it still was quite good, even though something in the salad family may have been more appropriate.
There is a lot of room for improvising in this recipe. I have made it with pinto beans and kale, rather than white beans and chard, and both turned out tasty.
It is important to soak the beans for this recipe, just so everything can cook in the same time frame. If you don’t have time, or if you forget to soak the beans you can use this quick-soak method.
Also, I should probably add that I am using smoked ham shanks for this. That’s all that is available around here, but I am told that fresh ones are also available in some places. The smoked ones are basically already cooked, so work well with this timing. The twelve minutes plus the natural release time seem to work fine. Fresh would take much longer cooking time.
You could also use your favorite Italian seasoning rather than the individual herbs, but for recipe purposes I usually like to list individual herbs and spices since folks are more likely to have the individual items on hand.
Also, two ham hocks or shanks would be plenty for this, but I was only able to find packs of three and didn’t want to waste any. I have also used salt pork with good results. And if you would like to make it a bit more italian, pancetta would work quite well, though I haven’t had a chance to try that yet.
This could easily be made into a vegetarian/vegan dish also, but I would recommend adding a little liquid smoke or substituting the tomatoes with fire-roasted tomatoes just to keep a little smokiness in the dish.
If you have a cooker smaller than 7 liters (7.4 quarts), you will need to cut the recipe in half. I have the 7-liter Kuhn Rikon and this comes right up to the maximum fill line (2/3 full).
I have used Kale in a bag to make this recipe even quicker, but I have to say I prefer the chard. Collard greens would work as well. Any fairly sturdy green should work, though I don’t think spinach would hold up too well for the 12-minute cooking time, but I haven’t tried it, so what do I know?
If you try it, let me know how it turns out and any changes you might have tried.
|Pressure Cooker Bean Chard Soup|| |
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 2-3 smoked ham shanks or hocks
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 package (16 oz.) small white beans, soaked overnight (or use the quick-soak method)
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. thyme
- ½ tsp. fennel
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. mustard powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbs. Sherry Vinegar
- 1 tbs. honey
- 1 package (32 oz.) broth (I used vegetable, but chicken or beef would work)
- 1 package (26 oz.) tomatoes
- 3 cups water
- 1 large bunch chard (stems removed, cleaned and chopped)
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese and chopped cilantro (for topping)
- Heat oil over medium heat
- Add pork shanks and brown lightly
- Add in the onion and carrot and saute until onions are translucent
- Add garlic and saute for another minute or two
- Add the basil, oregano, thyme, fennel, red pepper flakes and mustard powder
- Stir to coat the vegetables and meat
- Add in the tomatoes, broth, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, honey and bay leaves and stir
- Add in the beans
- Add the water
- Add some salt and pepper according to your preference
- Put in the chard on top of beans (you may have to stir for a minute or so until the chard starts to wilt a little so that you don't go over the maximum fill line)
- Put cover on pressure cooker and turn heat to high until high pressure is reached
- When pressure is reached, turn down heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 12 minutes
- When timer sounds, remove from heat. Let pressure come down naturally.
- I usually remove the hocks, let cool slightly and remove the meat from the bones, then stir the meat back into the soup.
- Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan and cilantro