It’s summer!! since yesterday, right? A good old hearty beans soup is always welcome, do you agree? Besides, this soup is actually my favourite served cold and on a hot day even served straight from the fridge. As a kid, I enjoyed this a lot and always found it as a refreshing meal during summer days.
This year I was lucky enough to get some nice fresh nettles picked by my very good friend Otilia, she was so kind and sweet to even make an extra journey coming from work on a truly miserable weather, just to drop those freshly picked and beautiful nettles.
Thank you so much, my lovely sweet dear friend.
Of course, I had to make the best use of that healthy looking and so precious young nettles.
It’s not an easy task to find fresh nettles especially in or around London as those have to be picked from pretty pristine places, you know what I mean, no dogs, not many cars or humans around except those that pick the nettles. I used to pick them from the forest where no one would ever get to when I was young - I used to love my forest walks soo much and always used to find an excuse for a good trip to my surrounding forest to pick nettles, wild strawberries, flowers all depending on the season. What a wonderful times...
My friend Otilia is lucky enough to live nearby the humongous and utmost gorgeous Richmond Park which is my absolute favourite park ever, well, apart from my local heavenly Hampstead Heath which I hugely adore.
I should be going to my local park here and try and find some nice nettles but bad timing, bad weather or the lack of time altogether it’s the real issue.
However, every time I fancy nettles I’m just opening my cupboard and use my nice organic dry ones that I can sprinkle into my food. The reality is that they are nowhere near the same and cannot be compared with the fresh ones. The taste of the fresh baby nettles is so unique and reminds me so badly of my mum’s nettle and olive pilaf which she used to make as a side dish or alternative to meat. Gorgeous! Oh, all those times... again.
- If you do not find lovage use fresh parsley or any herbs you may like.
- nettles can also be replaced by spinach or lambs lettuce
* this recipe asks for 350 g of black-eyed beans dry weight or 600 g of canned beans
* the fresh nettles are a very seasonal ingredient but you can replace these with spinach, chard or dry nettles that can be found in wholefood shops.
* I mentioned about de-pressurising the cooker manually. This operation can be tricky so unless you know exactly what you do be very careful as this can be quite dangerous and you can burn yourself. Always read carefully the instructions before using a pressure cooker as there are some rules that come with it in terms of liquid levels and so on. I grew up with one so I’m quite confident when it comes to working with it especially when I don’t have the time to wait for it to settle. Always a rush, hey?! Well, that definitely almost always the case with me. Always something to do, somewhere to go, someone waiting for something to be done. Haha. Life is beautiful.
* This soup can be served hot or cold with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper or some freshly chopped red chilli and of course some rustic homemade crusty bread.
But let me tell you about this beans soup here and how this was made, so let’s get cooking!
Pressure cooker nettle and Black-eyed beans soup
- 350 g Black-eyed beans *
- 100 g nettles fresh
- 1 med onion
- 1 small leek
- 1 small red pointed pepper
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 parsnip
- 1-2 celery stick
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can chopped tomato
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1-2 stems of lovage fresh or frozen
- 1 red chilli optional to garnish
- No need to do all the overnight soaking business when using a pressure cooker. Oh, can’t tell you when it comes to dishes like this - I so cannot do without my pressure cooker- it makes my life 1 million times easier reducing the cooking time to 1/3. Seriously.
- Cook the beans according to the package instructions. Canned beans can also be used. I cook them in pressure cooker for at a 15 min setting. No whistle.
- When finished with cooking the beans carefully release the pressure or allow 15-20 min for pressure to go down so you can remove the lid.
- Meanwhile, peel, wash and chop the onions and the carrot, wash and chop the leek, pepper and the parsnip.
- Add all the vegetables nicely chopped to the cooked beans. Add some vegetable stock or water if there isn’t sufficient liquid. You should have approximately 1 litre of liquid.
- Put the bay leaves and the thyme in, the tomato paste and the chopped tomato can, salt and pepper.
- Place the lid back on and cook for a further 10min under pressure.
- Release the pressure * or allow it to rest until the lid can be safely removed. Remove the lead and set back on cooking for another 15 minutes. Add the turmeric and cook uncovered so that the soup juice reduces slightly. This also helps with the soup getting a nice colour.
- In the last five minutes of cooking add the washed and slightly chopped nettles along with the fresh herbs such as lovage, parsley or even some fresh basil what ever you may fancy, like or have handy. Any herb will be nice. Delicious.