Pressure Cooker Vegan Lentil Soup

On the myriad cooking shows I watch they often use pressure cookers. I've often wondered to myself if I need one and if I did have one, what exactly I would make with it. 

I never did buy one for myself. I always figured I had the time to wait for the same thing to happen via the stovetop. 

But for some strange reason, my mother bought one. She doesn't even like to cook. Perhaps that factored into her decision. 

When she fell ill, I found myself with the desire to make good use of this appliance on her behalf. It felt therapeutic to create sustenance from this device that she'd bought so soon before she'd become sick. 
Since it's summer and hot, I thought to myself, I can make a complex broth based soup without making the house hot simmering it on the stovetop for a long time. 

My absolute favorite soup meal is lentil soup. It's just the ultimate vegan chicken noodle soup analog. It's the food of memories, childhood and comfort. It will give you a big hug. 


Around the World in 40 Lentils

I've always wondered about the whole fusion thing they're always going on about on various food network programs. There are no such style restaurants around here. They're all just one cuisine at a time.

But I took it upon myself to give some fusion a try in my own kitchen. Mostly just because I love ginger so gosh darn much. I'd pretty much put that stuff in anything at all. I love the smell. I love the taste. I even love the name.

My fusion was an admittedly odd confluence. It was cajun/asian/mexi and little bit of kosher. I know. I know. What the? But honest to goodness, it came out tasting great. Yes, I was shocked by this. Some of the best lentils I've ever eaten. And I've eaten a lot of lentils. The very reason I'm writing this post is so I can replicate the dish in the future. I don't want to forget how I did it.

1/2 cup dry lentils
1/4 pearl barley
1/4 cup kosher garlic pickle juice
6 cloves minced garlic
1 cup frozen collard greens
1/2 can mexicorn
1 small finger finely grated ginger
3 tbls cajun spice mix
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsps butter
water as needed

Add your pickle juice, 1 cup water, 1 tbl of the cajun spice, your lentils and your barley to a large pot. cover and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Add your collards, another tbl of the cajun spice and another 1/2 water. Allow to simmer 5 minutes longer.

Add your garlic.

Taste your lentils and barely to determine if more water is required. Add water in 1/4 cup increments until they are the texture you desire.

When your lentils and barley are where you want them kill the heat, but leave the pot on the hot burner. Add your butter, corn (including some of the liquid) and grate in the fresh ginger. Stir and cover. Let sit 2 more minutes.

Add your ground ginger. Stir. Taste and add more of the cajun spice if desired until it's just right for you.

It sounds crazy, but it tastes great.