Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Friday, October 30, 2020

Pressure Cooker: Black Bean and Chorizo Soup

It seems like fall is here all of the sudden.  Nights are cool, complaints coming from east coast relatives about it being cold and it's almost Halloween! The latest meal I have been making regularly is a Black Bean and Chorizo soup.  I might even be making it more often than Curried Lentils.  I make in it in a Breville Pressure cooker, which is similar to an Instapot.  From recipes I see on the web, I am guessing the Breville cooks at a slightly higher pressure, as most things will cook faster than called for in a Instapot.  In my opinion, this is the biggest challenges to using a pressure cooker is figuring out the cook time.  Soaked beans will cook much faster (5-6 minutes for soaked black beans vs 22 minutes for unsoaked), fresh beans cook faster than old beans, and different pressure for different cookers.  But you can always just cook some more if you need (and use the quick release, as the natural release is what takes the most time in this recipe). Also ... this is just a version of my Vegetable Bean and Sausage Stew, which is cooked on the stove... On the stove, I would recommend soaking the beans first, and it probably would cook in about the same total time (my guess is the soaked beans would need to cook for an hour or a bit more on the stove at a gentle simmer).  

I like a lot of greens in my soups... this is just one bunch from the Marcella's Farm stall at the Coronado Farmers Market.  You could use a lot less if you want.

When I made this batch, I found I only had a 1/2 pound of black beans in the panty, so I mixed in a 1/2 pound of pinto beans.  The soup is normally darker brown. 

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup

Makes 5-6 servings

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces Mexican chorizo sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 or 2 carrots, sliced
1 or 2 celery stalks, sliced (if you have them around)
2 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno chili, or some chili flakes
1 pound black beans, rinsed   (pinto beans also work)
6 cups water
Salt (about ½ - 1 teaspoon) and  freshly ground pepper
1 bunch of greens (kale, mustard, chard), stalks removed, chopped (or baby spinach)

Garnish:  Sour cream or Greek yogurt, cilantro, avocado, chili slices, fresh corn, grated or crumbled cheese

 In the pressure cooker, heat the oil (using Sear setting).  Slice the chorizo if it is in a casing, or make little balls if not, and cook in the hot oil until brown.  Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, chili.  When onions are translucent (5 minutes or so), add beans, water, salt and pepper.   Pressure cook using the “bean” function (high pressure) for 22 minutes (note – may be longer with an Instapot).  Let pressure reduce naturally.  When done, taste the beans and make sure they are cooked (if not, cook under pressure for a few more minutes, and OK to manually release the pressure).  Also taste for salt and add more if needed. Turn cooker to slow cook, high setting.  Add chopped greens.  Kale or mustard greens need to cook about 5 minutes; baby spinach is done as soon as you have stirred it in.   

 Serve with a garnish or two. Freezes well.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Pumpkin Muffins Rev. 2

I'm not one to really follow recipes, not even my own. Sometimes I just change things up for the variety. But I also evolve my recipes over time, some times to adjust for available ingredients, sometimes to make it more to my taste.  The pumpkin muffin recipe I published way back is one of those that evolved.  Butter instead of oil (for flavor), a whole can of pumpkin instead of 3/4 of a can (no dog around that loves the extra pumpkin), interchangeably use milk, yogurt, or buttermilk depending on what's on hand, and a little less to compensate for more pumpkin.  And I added some ginger.  And sometimes use more spice (like this time of year, when its pumpkin spice season) and sometimes less.  And sprinkle with sugar.   So I feel the Pumpkin Muffin recipe I published 10 years ago is not really the same as what I make today..  So here is Pumpkin Muffins Rev 2. 

These muffins come together very quickly, of the muffins I make most Sunday's, it is the easiest.

Like most muffins, the recipes are pretty tolerant... so adjust as you would like... fewer (or no) raisins, or put nuts into the batter.  Use slivered almonds instead of pumpkin seeds.  I have included a range on the spices.

And cans of pumpkin should start showing up at Trader Joes soon, its typically much better priced than regular grocery stores, but only available around Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Muffins    Rev 2

2 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose, whole wheat, or a mix - I use 1 cup of each)
2 heaping tablespoons oat bran or oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ - 1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ - ½ teaspoon ginger
¼ (scant) teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup milk or yogurt
1 15 ounce can pumpkin 
½ cup raisins

¼ cup (+) pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds for topping
Raw sugar (turbano) for topping

Oven:  400F or 380F Convection Bake.

Put dry ingredients in a small bowl, and mix with whisk.

Combine eggs and brown sugar with a whisk, mix in butter, add the milk, pumpkin and raisins.  Mix well.  Fold in dry ingredients.  Place in greased muffin pan.  Sprinkle pumpkin seeds or almonds on top, making sure none stick out too much, then sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes or until browned and spring back when touched. Depending on your oven, you might need to rotate the pan halfway through baking.  Remove from pan, and cool on a rack.  Or eat immediately.   Store any extras in the refrigerator.