When I first began imagining life aboard the Sea Shanti, the galley was an early obsession. I mentally stocked the storage bins with versatile staples that would allow me to do more with less. I was giddy with the idea of learning to cook within stricter limitations. The challenge made the kitchen seem more exciting.
Thus began the Great Southern Bean Experiment of 2017, which ended about a week later when my husband and son sat me down for an intervention. Apparently, man cannot live by bean alone.
I could, though. I’m a bean fanatic. They’re such a fascinating food. You can take the same bean and make fifteen different recipes with it by tweaking the ingredients here and there. That quality makes beans an ideal component of a galley. Plus, they’re really easy to prepare and tasty, too.
During the GSBE2017, I started to teach myself flavor bases so that I wouldn’t be bound by recipes. I wanted to learn to cook more intuitively, like I imagine Ma Ingalls did. Mirepoix was one of the bases that I studied, and it’s the foundation of this rich, buttery soup. If I can make this in the galley-less Shanti with nothing but a knife, a spoon, and my Instant Pot, you’ll work wonders with it!
Butter Bean Soup a la Shanti
STEP 0: PREP
Dice onions, celery, and carrots and gather all of your ingredients together for the sake of convenience.
STEP 1: SAUTE
Melt butter in Instant Pot using sauté feature. Q: How much butter? A: How much do you like butter?
STEP 2: MIREPOIX
Sauté 2 parts onion to 1 part carrot and 1 part celery – all chopped – until soft. Salt liberally at this stage to draw out liquids.
Toss in some minced garlic. Sauté a smidge more.
STEP 3: LIQUIDS
Add your preferred broth (I used chicken broth but veggie would be good, too) and/or water.
STEP 4: DRIED BEANS
Add your dried butter beans. Be sure your liquid covers the beans. If not, add more water, broth, or both.
STEP 5: PRESSURE COOK
Pressure cook for an hour. Double-check your Instant Pot’s manual for bean cookin’ times.
STEP 6: FINAL TOUCH
Season to taste.
Throw in green onions and a dash of a white vinegar to add a little zest to the soup.