Sunday afternoons are when I catch up on the week, and although I love cooking a big family dinner, heating up the kitchen when it’s 95 degrees outside is just not a pleasant experience.
One pot meals can be a lifesaver-both on time and on energy spent in the kitchen, and if you know how to use a pressure cooker, even things like dried beans and kale-which normally will have to cook for longer-can be prepped and completed in less than an hour.
Never tried a a pressure cooker? Read our professional review on the new, French-made Sitram Pressure Cooker. The directions for opening are specific to this model, so please see your manufacturer’s recommendations if you choose a different style.
Lentil, Kale, & Leek Stew with Lemon
- 1 1/2 cups French lentils or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 32 oz carton of reduced-sodium organic vegetable broth
- 2 cups water or 50:50 water and dry, white wine
- 3 cups chopped fresh baby Portobello mushrooms (8 ounces)
- 2 medium size leeks, thinly sliced, white parts only (rinse thoroughly to remove sand)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small bunch of dinosaur kale, chopped and rinsed
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 of a lemon
- parmesano reggiano, or vegan cheese (optional)
In a pressure cooker, saute the lentils in the oil for about 5 minutes on medium heat. The coating of oil is important to bring out flavor, softens the beans, and helps to prevent them from bubbling up when you close the pressure cooker lid.
Add the leeks and the mushrooms, saute another 3 minutes. Add the chopped kale. Add the broth and water or white wine, toss in the thyme sprig, bring to a quick, low boil.
Add the pepper, and stir to incorporate all ingredients, and keep them from sticking to the bottom. You should have about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of liquid on top of your ingredients. If not, add a little more water, ensuring all contents are no higher than about halfway up the side of the pot.
Put the pressure cooker lid on, and seal it. Set your timer for approximately 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove your pressure cooker from the stove, placing it in the sink under running cold water. Remove the safety steam spout, and then slowly twist open the handle.
Stir in a pinch of salt to taste. Ladle soup into bowls. Top soup in each bowl with squeeze of lemon, and shaved parmesan if desired.