Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Split Pea Soup

A friend asked me the other day how I suddenly got into cooking.  I thought to myself, suddenly?  I've always loved to cook.  I guess if you didn't know me as a kid, it would seem sudden.  I have sort of been on sabbatical from cooking for about 15 years now.  I loved to bake as a kid and was famous at home for my chocolate chip cookies.  I had my parents and my brother convinced for years that I had a secret ingredient that made the cookies so good, when really, I was just following the recipe on the Nestle Tollhouse bag.  My brother asked if he could watch the next time I made them and I told him he could, as long as he left the room while I added the 'secret' ingredient.  He left the room and, just to trick him, I sprinkled a couple of oats on the batter.  When he came back in, his eyes lit up, and he started shouting, "It's oats, her secret ingredient is oats!"  My parents ran into the kitchen to see what all the commotion was about, and they too thought they had discovered my secret.  While they all danced around laughing and celebrating, I smiled slyly and rolling my eyes thought, gullible, so gullible.  I don't know if I ever admitted to my little fib, but if you guys are reading this now, well, I guess the jig is up.  I had NO secret ingredient.  The only thing I did differently from the directions was that I mixed all the ingredients in one bowl instead of separating out the wet and dry and mixing them slowly, but you already knew that didn't you?  How this makes a difference, I will never know.   What does this have to do with split pea soup?  Nothing, except that as I was disregarding some of the steps in the recipe, it made me think back to the chocolate chip cookies and the 'secret' to their success. 

The soup is very hearty and delicious.  I like that you don't puree the whole soup.  It gives it all a nice texture and variety.  I used fresh thyme and parsley from our herb garden, but dried would be just as good in a soup I'm sure.  I also forgot to put them in until pretty late in the cooking process and it still turned out great.  So, feel free to mess with the direction if you see fit.  It just may be the 'secret' to your success. 

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Soup, 2001
Serves 4

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (I left this out.)
2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Cup dried green or yellow split peas, rinsed and drained
4 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
6 slices bacon
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil.  Add the onion and saute until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the celery and carrots and saute until just slightly softened, 3 minutes. 

Add the split peas, stock, 2 slices of bacon, parsley, marjoram, and thyme.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered until peas are tender, 50-60 minutes.  Discard the bacon.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium heat, cook the remaining 4 slices of bacon until crisp.  Set aside to cool.  Crumble when cooled and set aside.

Coarsely puree 2 cups of the soup in a food processor or blender and return pureed soup to pot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Return soup to medium heat and simmer 5 minutes longer.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with crumbled bacon.  Serve immediately. 

1 comment:

Terri said...

your "secret ingredient" was love I am sure. Everything tastes better when it's made with love :) xo


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