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. 


Vegan French Mushroom Sauce

I decided to try a new ingredient that I've been curious about for a while now. Brandy.

It's used in a lot of sauces and french cuisine. I've seen it associated with cream sauces, pepper sauces, mushroom sauces. So I thought I'd give it a go and see.

I went with a mushroom and caper based sauce to keep with the french theme.

I've made similar sauces in the past, but the brandy definitely added a new level of nuance to the finished product.

1 pint white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 spoonfuls capers/brine
1 can garbanzos/brine
1/3 cup white wine
1 tbl spicy mustard
1 tsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup brandy
2 tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsps dry savory or sage - one or the other, not both

Saute the mushrooms and onion in the salt and oil until nicely caramelized. This will take some time. At least 15 minutes. Stir it occasionally so they don't get too dark on one side. It's easiest to get them dark enough if you do something else while they're cooking. I busied myself by chopped ingredients for another dish while they cooked.

It's important to get a dark rich color on the mushrooms and onions. This will give the sauce depth. It will also provide sugars in the pan for the wine to pick up when you deglaze.

Once the mushrooms and onions are nicely browned deglaze with the white wine. Cook that out for several minutes. Then add the garbanzos/brine, mustard, garlic, jalapeno, capers/brine, brandy, black pepper and savory or sage.

Simmer to reduce by 1/4.

Sprinkle in the flour. Stir to incorporate. Cook a few more minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.  Then remove from heat and allow sauce to rest a few minutes to further thicken up a bit.