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The minestrone soup recipe I share here gains extra heartiness from brown rice and lentils in place of the pasta many people associate with minestrone.
One secret some chefs use for intensifying flavors can actually be found on the counters or shelves of many home kitchens: a pressure cooker. Cooking quickly under high pressure magically concentrates the flavors of ingredients, producing memorable tastes in just minutes.
When I worked as a young chef in the restaurant of the famous hotel Oustau de Baumaniere in the south of France, we would use
a pressure cooker if one of our guests requested soup late at night. Those soups were so delicious that I still remember
them to this day. (Pressure cookers serve another purpose in high-altitude restaurants, where the lighter air pressure makes it
impossible to bring water to a boil. At Spago at the
All this brings me to the topic of minestrone, Italy's great vegetable soup. I've found again and again that when I make minestrone in a pressure cooker it turns out incredibly delicious. Plus, there's the bonus that the soup easily takes less than half the time to cook than it does on top of the stove.
So, on a cold winter evening when you suddenly feel the need for a comforting soup, you can simply and quickly put together my pressure-cooker minestrone soup with brown rice and lentils. Feel free to substitute onions for the leeks and to swap out the other fresh vegetables for whatever fresh favorites you find in your market. Just be sure to cut the vegetables into pieces of uniform size, so they cook evenly.
Thanks to the way the pressure cooker intensifies flavors and keeps them all locked inside the pot, you don't even need broth for the soup. Fresh water will do fine, though you shouldn't hesitate to use canned vegetable or chicken broth if you prefer.
Add some crusty bread and you have a satisfying, easy dinner ready to put on the table any night of the week.
Minestrone With Lentils & Brown Rice Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Minestrone With Lentils & Brown Rice Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium organic leeks, white parts only, halved lengthwise, thoroughly rinsed, and chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
7 cups cold water, organic vegetable broth, or organic chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can peeled and crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup uncooked brown rice
1/3 cup dried dark green Puy-style lentils
1-1/2 cups chopped green or Savoy cabbage
2 medium organic carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 organic celery stalks, chopped
1 large bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, basil, or chives, for garnish
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Minestrone With Lentils & Brown Rice Recipe Instructions
Pressure cooker instructions
Heat a large pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the oil and leeks and saute until the leeks begin to soften and smell fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds.
Stir in the water or broth, canned tomatoes, brown rice, lentils, cabbage, carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Bring the mixture to a boil, secure the lid, and bring the pressure cooker to high pressure.
When high pressure has been reached, turn the heat to low and set a timer for 20 minutes.
When the cooking time is up, turn off the heat and release the pressure, following the manufacturer's instructions. Carefully remove the lid.
The brown rice and the lentils should be tender. Continue simmering, uncovered, until the soup is thick but still fairly fluid, about 10 minutes longer. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish each with some chopped fresh herbs and a spoonful of grated Parmesan.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute, stirring frequently, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and continue sauteing, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Stir in the water or broth, canned tomatoes, brown rice, lentils, cabbage, carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat and bring to a boil; then, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour.
Adjust the seasonings to taste. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with fresh herbs and Parmesan.
Soup Recipe, Minestrone Soup, Italian
Minestrone Soup with Lentils And Brown Rice - Wolfgang Puck Pressure Cooker Recipes
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