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. 


Creamy Vegan Mushroom Stew Recipe

I wanted something light, but also hearty. That sounds like a contradiction of terms, but mushrooms have the ability to create both sensations in a dish. If you keep your ingredients list simple, but make sure it packs a lot of flavor, you can get both in one.

This dish also features a great way to utilize tofu for extra protein and a pleasingly creamy texture that satisfies those dairy cravings.

But the thing that really takes this recipe to the next level is actually the garnish. Another 1/2 pint of the mushrooms, an extra shallot and a little bit of the poblano. Saute them separately in olive oil and salt until the shallots and mushrooms are caramelized. Top each serving of the stew with a generous portion of that sweet umami goodness to turn an already very good dish into a spectacular one.

And here's the real flavor bomb. All that goodness that's left in the pan after you saute the mushrooms, shallots and poblano... add a few dashes of white wine to deglaze and then pour it into your pot of simmering stew. That there, that's how you make vegan food kick ass!

Stew Ingredients

1 1/2 pints button mushrooms
2 shallots
6 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1/2 a poblano
1/2 block silken tofu
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbls olive oil
3 tbls soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tsps black pepper
3 tsps dill
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
Saute liquid * refer to instructions above
water as needed

In the pot you'll use to cook the dish, use a stick blender to puree the tofu with 1/2 cup water until smooth. Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, jalapeno, poblano, salt, soy sauce, black pepper, olive oil and 1/2 cup more water. Cover and simmer until veg is cooked down and a nice broth is formed. About 15 minutes.

Add barley, lentils, dill, wine and 1/2 cup more water. Recover and continue simmer until water is absorbed. Add more water as needed until barley and lentils and almost tender.

Stir in parsley and another 1/2 cup of water, saute liquid. Recover. Turn off heat on burner. Leave pot on stove for 10 minutes.