Okay, did you get your life-changing Instant Pot yet? I’m serious, folks: whether you’re a gourmet chef or a barely-functioning clodhopper in the kitchen, you need an Instant Pot in your life. And if you already own one (well done on that, by the way), you’re probably just like me: constantly Googling for new recipes.
Look no further, friends: Today I’m contributing my own creation with this Instant Pot pancetta and bean soup. It’s a hearty, filling one-dish meal, especially when served with thick, crusty baguette slices and salted butter.
But first, let’s talk more about the Instant Pot. I swear I’m not selling them, even though I’ve sang its praises before (check my chickpea curry recipe here, or my favorite Mexican pork pibil recipe here). What I really love is the Instant Pot’s ability to reduce the cooking time for dried beans into practically no time at all. Say goodbye to those cans of mushy beans with the gloop. You know what I’m talking about, right? You crack open a can of kidney beans, dump them out, and have to rinse all that gluey whiteness from them? Ewww.
I’ve found that the Instant Pot is incredibly forgiving when it comes to dried beans. If I’m cooking dried beans on the stovetop, I usually soak the beans overnight to make sure they’ll really get nice and tender. With the Instant Pot, I still soak my beans, but I’m a lot less precious about it. If I remember the night before, great. If I don’t, I’ll try to fit in at least a 2-hour soak, and I’ve found that the Instant Pot’s “bean” function works just fine to produce tender beans with just that short amount of soak.
As for the beans in this soup, I absolutely love Charleston Own’s 13 bean soup mix. The mix includes a variety of split peas, white beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, pinto beans and yellow lentils (actually, it’s more than that, since there’s 13, but you get the drift). I love this mix because it makes for a really interesting, flavorful soup. It’s available to purchase online in the U.S., but if you can’t get it where you are, you can make do with a mix of white beans, black beans, pintos and kidney beans.
Along with the pancetta, chopped tomato, onion and garlic that form the base of this soup, there’s also a generous spattering of minced cilantro that gets added right before serving, which adds an addictive freshness. With the Instant Pot, this comforting bowl of soup is ready in just under 40 minutes. We make this on a regular basis for one of our simple weekday meals with a nice green salad and chunks of buttered baguettes. The kids love dunking their baguettes to soak up every last bit of soup. And who can blame them, really?
- 1 cup pancetta, chopped
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups mixed dried beans (a mix of kidney, red, white, pinto and black, or use the Charleston's Own 13 bean soup mix blend)
- 4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
- 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ cup cilantro, finely minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Prep: rinse and soak the dried beans for at least 2-3 hours and overnight at most.
- Set your Instant Pot to the "saute" function, then push the "adjust" button to adjust the heat to the "more" setting.
- Add pancetta and let it cook without stirring for about 2-3 minutes until the pancetta is browned, then stir with a spatula to brown it evenly on the other sides until the pancetta is crispy and the fat is largely rendered (i.e., liquid and not still white around the edges of the pancetta). Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon.
- If a lot of fat is remaining in the metal inner pot, turn off the Instant Pot and carefully lift the pot out and drain off the fat until there's only about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat left. Return the inner pot to the Instant Pot and turn the Instant Pot back on to the "saute" function again, making sure to hit the "adjust" button again to adjust the heat to low.
- Add the onions and saute gently for 7-8 minutes until the onion is translucent and soft. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more, then pour in the beans, chopped tomatoes, chili powder, bay leaf and chicken stock. Turn the Instant Pot to the "bean" setting and cook.
- When the Instant Pot is done cooking, let the pressure come down using the 10-minute natural release method (letting the Instant Pot switch to the "Keep Warm" setting and letting the timer count up to 10 minutes, then releasing the pressure).
- Taste the soup and add at least 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Taste it again and add more seasoning to taste. Add the cilantro and serve immediately.
Check out my other Instant Pot recipes here: