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The Green Life: Good Eats

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December 18, 2007

Good Eats

In the January/February issue of Sierra magazine, freelancer Wendy Lyons Sunshine exults in the joy of pressure cooking--a time- and energy-efficient way to whip up a meal. This bonus recipe is for a surprisingly thick and hearty soup that has an almost beefy flavor, although it contains no red meat. And the chicken gets so tender you needn't cut it up before cooking. For a lighter, vegetarian version, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth.

Coq-a-Barley Soup
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 leeks, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
7 medium carrots, sliced
1 1/4 cups pitted prunes, quartered
3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
3/4 cup dried lentils
10 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf

Sauté the chicken, using some canola oil, in the pressure cooker with the top off. Once the chicken is lightly browned, add the rest of the ingredients. Seal the lid and turn the heat on high. After the pot starts whistling loudly, lower the heat to get a low, steady hissing. Cook for 55 minutes, then turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let the soup sit in the sealed pot for at least 15 minutes, or until the pressure button drops. Stir and serve. If you prefer a thinner soup, add a little water. Makes approximately three quarts. --Wendy Lyons Sunshine


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