Posted by: lornasass | November 26, 2009


I make all of my soups in the pressure cooker because when I want soup, I want it fast.  To put it another way, I’m not one who enjoys hovering over the stove.


No, when I’m hungry, I’m good for about 5 minutes of prep.  Then, after 10 minutes under pressure and the natural release (another 10 minutes or so), I have a delicious coarsely pureed soup.  30 minutes MAX from start to finish–that’s my style.

Small, split fava beans make a nice alternative to split peas and lentils, but you can substitute the latter if you have a hard time locating split favas–or you can mail-order the latter from Kalustyan’s.)

Dried mushrooms, which I always keep on hand, add deep flavor and obviate the need for a vegetable broth base.

I use the following recipe as the base for various meals during the week–stirring in one or more of the additions suggested below.  And usually freeze some for an emergency meal or two down the road.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

8 cups water (if it’s already boiling, the pressure will come up faster)

DSC045232 cups small, split, peeled fava beans

3/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms (or omit the mushrooms and use vegetable broth instead of water)

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

To serve, add one of more of the following:

Frozen green peas and/or corn

Frozen leaf spinach, defrosted

Chopped fresh cilantro, basil, or parsley


Tapenade or pesto

Diced avocado

Indian lime pickle

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 6-quart or larger pressure cooker.  Add onions, fennel, and cumin seeds, and cook over medium-high heat until onions are lightly browned.  Stir in 8 cups water and salt.

Lock lid in place and bring up to high heat over high pressure.  Reduce heat to maintain high pressure and cook for 10 minutes (lentils and split peas) or 12 minutes (split fava beans).

Allow the pressure to come down naturally, about 10 minutes.  Stir well, adding salt to taste, additional tablespoon oil, plus one or more of other ingredients suggested above.

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