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I admit, the first time I used a pressure cooker I was a little afraid. I left my studio and stood on the other side of the door to avoid severe burning and disfigurement if my pot of legumes exploded. I called a friend to ask her if I was doing it right. But now I see the pressure cooker like a trusted friend who only wants to save me some valued time. So when I saw this lentil recipe in Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and the preparation time of 1 hour, I was so glad I had a pressure cooker to cut the time by nearly two-thirds, borrowing a technique from the Spanish and the Lentils with Chorizo Sausage Recipe (Lentils With Chorizo Sausage). The first thing I did was skip the step where you sauté the onion and carrots for 10 minutes. It's unnecessary, and you'll find that my method makes a soup with a smoother, more pleasant consistency by cooking the vegetables whole or halved, then removing and pureeing them afterwards. My kitchen has a surplus of brown lentils, so those are what I used. I'm going to keep the brown lentils in the recipe because I don't know if French lentils require more liquid. One thing I want to try for next time, since I used bouillon cubes, is to break them up and try to dissolve them in step 2 rather than prepare the stock ahead of time, and I plan to cut down the salt next time. I find the best way to seed plum tomatoes is to cut them in half and sweep out the seedy parts with your index finger. The soup you'll get from this is addictively delicious and filling, and you'll feel like a genius for owning a pressure cooker.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 large carrot
- 5 plum tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika (Hungarian, if available)
- 6 cups water or 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups brown lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- 3 pinches fresh ground black pepper
- Place lentils in pressure cooker. Peel carrot, onion and garlic cloves, seed tomatoes. Add the vegetables, whole, to pressure cooker along with bay leaves (it's okay if the tomatoes are cut in half).
- Add cold water or broth, salt to taste, paprika and herbs to pressure cooker and bring to boil, uncovered.
- When it starts to boil, place pressure-cooker cover and seal. When the pressure-indicator rises let cook 8 minutes.
- Turn off heat, carefully move handle to safe position to eliminate pressure. Wait for all steam to clear and open.
- Discard bay leaf. Transfer onion, carrot (careful, it's really soft), tomatoes and garlic to a mixing bowl and blend with hand-blender. You may have to quarter the onion to get the blender to work on it. Return pureed vegetables to lentils, mix well and serve with French bread.
so good and so easy! I changed it a bit and made it more of a hearty soup by just roughly chopping the vegetables and not blending them after they were cooked. I also added some southern greens (mustard, collards etc) which gave some nice color. I highly recommend this! Thank you!
I enjoyed the ease of this recipe and it took so little time to put together. What a good use of the pressure cooker. It being December, I used a can of tomatoes instead of fresh, added a couple of celery stalks too, and used chicken broth. Don't really understand why to take the veggies out and puree, I like the chunkiness of veggies in my soup, but I tried it this way and it was good. I will try chopping the veggies up and not pureeing, but I will try it again. I might add more carrot as I thought it could use just a wee bit more sweetness. Mmm good stuff.
This recipe was intensely flavorful and so easy to make. I have included it in my favorites.