Instant pot bean soup

A couple of months ago my daughter won an instant pot at a store giveaway. Since she already had one I was the lucky recipient of the extra pot. It’s been fun experimenting with it. So far I’ve made lots of stock, roasts, wild rice and chicken soup (a huge hit here that I will share soon), vegetable beef soup, a couple of different chicken dishes, and today decided to modify my bean soup recipe for the instant pot.

The ingredients are almost the same as the slow cooker version but with a rouille, a magic touch I learned about from Jacque Pepin’s seafood stew in Julia and Jacque: Cooking at Home. It adds a spicy, garlicky snap to any soup or stew. You could instead add minced garlic to the soup before it cooks, but if you are a garlic lover, once you’ve tried rouille you’ll be hooked. The beans should still be soaked for the best texture, and the vegetables should be sautéed. You can whip this out for supper in less than an hour if you’ve soaked the beans. I forgot to do it overnight so this morning I put them in a large bowl and put in enough water to cover them by a couple inches. They need 6-8 hours to soak, which will be just right for getting this going by 4 or 5 PM. I took a break at noon and chopped all the vegetables but you can do this a day or two early and refrigerate them in a ziplock bag. My daughter Molly sometimes gets her husband and kids to help chop vegetables on Sunday for use throughout the week. There was a hambone in the freezer from our free Thanksgiving ham, along with a chunk of the meat. We smoke a couple of racks of chicken thighs every couple of weeks, so next time I’m going to toss in smoked chicken instead of ham. The skin and bones from those smoked thighs makes a broth that’s perfect for this soup. If you’re unsure about the difference between stock and broth, check out this explanation. Either will work in this recipe, though I prefer homemade broth.

– Joan, 28 December 2018

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Instant Pot Bean Soup

For the soup:

  • 1 lb. dried mixed beans, soakedIMG_4998
  • 1 hambone or smoked ham hocks
  • ½-¾ lb. cooked ham or smoked chicken, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-6 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (omit if using rouille)
  • 1 small dried chile, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, optional if using seasoned stock
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth (save ¼ cup for the rouille)
  • 2 cups diced canned tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, more or less to taste

For the rouille:

  • 1 slice firm white bread
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small potato, peeled and cooked
  • ¼ cup canned pimiento pieces
  • ¼ cup broth or stock
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil

Soak beans overnight or at least 6-8 hours in enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Drain and rinse.

IMG_3172Sauté onion, celery, and carrots in the instant pot using the sauté or sear setting until onions are softened. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and the soaked beans, adding the stock, tomatoes, and meat last so you are sure not to fill above the full line. If it’s too much you can add the meat after cooking. Close and lock lid and set manual cooking for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes let it sit for 20 minutes, then release steam. When all steam is released open the lid and check beans for softness. Cook under pressure for a few more minutes if they are still not soft enough.

Make the rouille — While the soup is cooking, tear bread slice into pieces and put in a food processor bowl with the garlic. Process until finely chopped. Add the cooked potato,  canned pimiento, and broth or stock and process until smooth. Add the egg yolk and seasonings and process till smooth. With the machine running, slowly pour in olive oil. Set aside.

IMG_1004Remove about 2 cups of liquid and beans from the soup and run through a food processor or blender, or use a hand blender. Return this thickened soup to the pot and stir it in. Serve with a generous spoonful of rouille in the bottom of the bowl before you add soup, then top with a few crispy croutons.

Extra soup can be frozen. Just be sure to leave at least an inch of head space for expansion. Thaw in refrigerator before reheating. Refrigerate or freeze any leftover rouille.

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