by Jon on October 30, 2007 · 8 comments

    If you’re anything like me, and I’ll bet you are, night after night after night of cooking at home can get tiring. And downright annoying. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to cook! But I also used to love going out for quick meals that were inexpensive and delicious. Great on the pocketbook, wonderful in the tummy.

    After the shock of being diagnosed wears off (it’s been almost two years for me), I soon realized that those quick little jaunts to my favorite local ethnic restaurants were a thing of the past. But I also knew that I couldn’t come up with fabulous meals every night. So, what does a Celiac-loving cook do? I’ve learned shortcuts. One of my favorite toys/tools in the kitchen is my Kuhn-Rikon pressure cooker. I can’t believe it took me so many years to finally make it a regular tool in my arsenal of kitchen equipment.

    They are not at all like the ones you used to hear about. The new ones have safety mechanisms built right in. No more explosions that permanently change the color of the ceiling in your kitchen.

    Tonight, we dined on delicious split pea soup. From start to finish, including prepping the ingredients, it was done in 25 minutes. And it was as good if not better than the best split pea soup you’ve ever eaten!

    So, if you’ve been hesitating about purchasing one, wait no more. It is a fantastic way to serve quick delicious meals in the comfort of your own kitchen. I purchased my unit online from Pleasant Hill Grain – it is a Kuhn-Rikon turn-top model. When I purchased it, the cooker came with two cookbooks at no additional cost. I don’t think the company is offering that anymore – though I have to say that it is definitely worth buying at least one pressure cooker cookbook. I have two of them, both by Lorna Sass, and I use them a lot.

    Split Pea Soup with Herbes De Provence
    from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass
    serves 4 – 6

    1 tablespoon safflower or canola oil
    1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
    2 cups coarsely chopped onion
    1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, and rosemary leaves (I had Herbes De Provence in my cupboard, so I used three teaspoons of it)
    1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
    1 large bay leaf
    2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices
    2 large celery ribs, diced
    6 cups boiling water
    2 cups dried green split peas, picked over and rinsed
    1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
    salt to taste

    Heat the oil in the cooker. Cook the garlic over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, just until it begins to brown. Immediately add the onions and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another minute. Stir in the basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel, and bay leaf. Add the carrots, celery, boiling water (stand back to avoid sputtering oil), and split peas.

    Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 6 minutes (I cooked it for 15 minutes, as that is what I found works best). For a hearty texture, quick-release the pressure by setting the pot under cold running water. For a smoother texture, allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape.

    Remove the bay leaf. Stir the soup as you add the parsley and salt to taste. This soup will thicken considerably on standing. Thin as needed with water or stock.

    { 8 comments… read them below or add one }

    Sea October 31, 2007 at 1:18 am

    Mmm, a tasty vegetarian soup… sounds good. I love split pea soup. I don’t have a pressure cooker, even though I have every other kitchen gadget known to man. I’ve just never been sure if I would use it. Maybe it’s time…



    Li & David October 31, 2007 at 5:53 am

    I think I might have to finally invest in a pressure cooker. A tasty soup in 25 minutes? Sounds good to me!

    Ellen, your blog was one of the first I started to read after being diagnosed a year ago. I really enjoy your positive outlook!



    Ellen October 31, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Li – do buy one! You won’t regret it – I’ve already converted a few others to the world of pressure cooking. It makes fabulous brown rice in about 20 – 25 minutes including the time it takes to “bring it up to pressure” – you’ll learn what that means once you start using one. And soup stock, and and and….I’ve recently seen some less expensive models (Fagor is one company) at Linens & Things, K-Mart etc. Or look on Amazon.com……..keep me posted – I’d love to know what you think! And thanks for the kind words – so glad to know my blog has been helpful!


    Ellen October 31, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Sea —— take it from me – if anyone would love it, it’s you!!! I made hands down the best hummus ever, using the pressure cooker to cook the chickpeas from scratch! It is an invaluable tool in my kitchen. You’ll love it!


    Carrie October 31, 2007 at 11:20 am

    that sure looks tasty ellen! I LOVE homemade soups!! I used to use my crockpot all the time, but honestly I don’t think I’ve used it once in the past year (too lazy to pull it out from under the counter!) i think I will have to pull it out for this recipe. I’ve been buying one new spice every month to use… this month I had already planned on buying Herbs de Provence! YAY! Can’t wait to try this one night this fall!


    Ellen October 31, 2007 at 12:06 pm


    I used a pressure cooker to make this, but I’ve made Split Pea Soup in a crockpot as well, so either way, it’ll be delicious. One thing to know is that when you chill the leftovers in the frig, the next day, it’ll be pretty congealed and thick. You need to add water to thin it out. But I guess that makes the leftovers stretch even further!


    Mary Frances November 1, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Pressure cookers are awesome! I’m using one of the old kind, but can’t wait to get a new one. I love to make Sweet Potato Stew in it – those potatoes cook up so quickly in a pressure cooker =)


    Suzanne November 1, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Pressure cookers rule! I am so happy to see someone else who uses one — because most people (even my mother-in-law!) look at me like I’m some kind of nut for using one. They are the best. Most practical thing I bought, just for “me” since eating GF. I might add, the best way to make utterly heavenly risotto, without stirring for a second.


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