Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pressure cooker makes quick work of split pea and barley soup

A winter storm seems to be rolling our way, and the forecast I just heard called for sleet or ice or snow -- or perhaps all three. Supermarket shoppers are no doubt responding by clearing the shelves of bread and milk. They'd do themselves a favor if they added a bag of dried split peas, a box of barley and a beef shank bone to the cart.

This recipe is a family favorite that I've made more times than I can count. It's thick, hearty and comforting, perfect fare for February. And it's made in a pressure cooker, meaning that it's ready in less than an hour.

Many split pea soups are flavored with a ham bone or another form of smoked pork. This recipe uses a beef shank bone instead. This soup also contains barley, a healthful grain that stands up well to the super-hot pressure cooker, and parsnips, which provide a lovely sweetness.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 meaty beef shank bone
1 cup dried split peas
1/2 cup barley
1 large onion, chopped
2 large ribs celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Place shank bone in the cooker and fill halfway with water. Bring to a simmer over high heat. With a spoon, skim off the foam that forms. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Close the cooker. Bring to 15 pounds of pressure, then cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then place under cold water to reduce the remaining pressure. Remove shank bone; when cool enough to handle, shred the meat and return it to the pot. Reheat if necessary, stir and serve.

Story and photo copyright 2013 Judith Evans. All rights reserved.

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