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October 9, 2010

Seven soups every Saturday: pressure cooker soup recipes


When I was a little girl, I watched a pressure cooker explode in my grandmother's kitchen. To me, it was Mt. Vesuvius come to Brooklyn, complete with an ominous whistling noise I haven't been able to get out of my head for the last fifty years. Yes, there was food on the ceiling, and I took refuge under the Formica-covered kitchen table. I know that today's pressure cookers have all sorts of safeguards against this sort of drama, and whenever I think of being able to cook beans in less than an hour, I'm tempted to buy my very first pressure cooker. Soon. Very soon.

Seven recipes for pressure cooker soups caught my eye this week:

Black bean pumpkin soup, from One Hot Stove

Spicy pinto bean soup with ham, tomatoes and cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Creamy apple-squash soup, from Kitchen Gadget Girl Cooks

Pressure cooker lentil soup, from Kahakai Kitchen

Cauliflower Swiss cheese soup, from The Merlin Menu

Chickpea soup, from Doris and Jilly Cook

Niu rou mien (Taiwanese beef noodle soup), from Gaga in the Kitchen

Find more delicious pressure cooker soup recipes with Food Blog Search. Come back every Saturday for seven soup recipes to enjoy any day of the week.


My friend Lucia lives in the town next to mine, and she sent along today's photo, with this note: "The blue theme is awfully easy to spot. My two favorites are foreground left: chrysanthemum bowl from Savers ($0.99), and foreground right: made by the wonderful Bob Fishman! It's a good feeling to eat out of a beautiful bowl made by someone you know."

If you'd like to share photos of seven soup bowls from your kitchen -- or from a friend's house, or your parents' attic, or an antique shop, or a housewares store, or a school or restaurant -- I'd love to share those photos on Saturdays.

It's easy: send one photo, of seven soup bowls or soup mugs. The bowls must all be able to be used for eating soup, and they absolutely do not have to match. Send the largest file your camera will allow; I'll size it to fit. Make sure the photo is in focus (very important). Tell me whose bowls are in the photo, or where you took the picture. If you're a blogger, I'll link to your blog.

That's it. One photo, seven soup bowls. Email to lydia AT ninecooks DOT com.


Posted by: Kalynskitchen | October 9, 2010 at 04:04 PM

That would be terrifying to be there when a pressure cooker exploded, but they really are safe now, and you MUST get one. I actually have two now, and need to get using them!

Posted by: susan g | October 9, 2010 at 11:06 PM

I had the good fortune of finding a set of pressure cookers (one pressurized lid, a large and a smaller pot), unused, for $25, about 3 years ago. So far I use it for beans and it really is simple and works quickly. The longest part is getting it up to pressure. I was glad to see reference to Lorna Sass's book, which I have and wasn't using. Now I will...
Reading a new book from the library, Pure & Simple, Homemade Indian Vegetarian Cuisine, I find directions to "pressure cook to one whistle." Can anyone translate? (Interesting book, different from other Indian recipes I've used.)

Posted by: pam | October 9, 2010 at 11:15 PM

So, they don't HAVE to match?!! Well, as soon as I unpack my china cabinet, I'll have some bowls for you!

Posted by: Lydia | October 10, 2010 at 06:17 AM

Kalyn, honestly, I've never forgotten that experience, but my rational brain tells me that the technology has changed. And though I'm fond of cooking beans in the slow cooker, the idea that I could cook them in 45 minutes instead of 18 hours makes all kinds of soups possible. There is definitely one in my future.

Susan, would you believe I already own Lorna Sass' book, even though I don't own a pressure cooker? I guess that means I'm more ready than I thought. I do remember my grandmother's (exploding) pressure cooker making a series of whistles, so maybe that's what the instructions in your cookbook mean. How that translates to modern pressure cookers, though -- that I don't know. Readers, help!

Pam, with all of the soup bowls I own, I doubt I have any seven that match!

Posted by: susan g | October 10, 2010 at 04:31 PM

Ah, the years of air raid drills when I was little in post-WWII America, doubled over on the floor in the dark hallways of my elementary school. Now we know that the real terror was the pressure cooker in our kitchens!

Posted by: Dcaservice | October 14, 2010 at 08:23 PM

After all these comments n suggestions, I need to relate these stories to you.

I was brought up in Cornell, Wi. Just a bit down/up the road was the Presto pressure cooker facility in Eau-Clair. During the war, (I was around 4ish) they converted to making brass155MM Howitzer shells. Everyone in the area had a reject in the living room as it held a “bean-bag ash tray” perfectly.

My inherited Mom n dad’s pressure cooker of that era, ended up in Guadalajara, Mexico with a dear friend. He attempted to make “black beans” in the device while going into town for a few things. He returned to find a (what was a very nicely done Airstream trailer redecorated with a black bean spray/fog. The pressure cooker is now gone to the recycled aluminum site. My wife n I had replaced it with a rather new one, but I found a need to have a larger device.

I found my self at a local farmers market in Sarasota, Fl. Just east of the I75 intersection of Fruitville Rd., I asked a nice young Hispanic lady, “What are you doing with those apples?” She responded “De bad apples, we give to horses”.
I purchased 60 Lbs. of “bad apples” for $8.00. I extracted around of 22 Lbs. of good cleaned, apple product,
I had purchased a new 25 Qt. cooker from the “All American” foundry”, for around 230
“Muskrat skins”.

So much wonderful apple butter, everyone loved it.

The point of this rambling is to send you to the site of

No no, Nannette, this is not a porn site, this the quintessential source of pressure cooking knowledge.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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