Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Classic Rock (Split Pea Soup)

As I often mention, in my huge family we all learned how to cook, lots of things, lots of ways. When I got married, I married a man who was an only child, his mom cooked very standard mid-20th century meals, A chop, a vegetable, a starchy side, maybe a dessert. Not that different in ingredients, but served up to her son and husband and nothing too dramatic. You can imagine the culture shock at the first meal John had with my family, over a dozen people, large bowls brimming with any variety of things, elbows, chatter, stuff headed in all directions around a large family style service. In his view: Chaos, Pandemonium!  We still eat quite a lot of what I learned how to cook in that craziness, but I also  have two or three great recipes that come straight from John's Mom Kate Rock.

Split Pea Soup with mini rye toast
 croutons
One standard for Kate was Split Pea Soup, something she made for me by the bucket full while I was recuperating from a car accident. I didn't have the heart to tell her I really, really do not like pea soup. John does love pea soup though, and I make it a couple times each winter. It keeps well, you can make it a variety of ways, and it is easily complimented by cheese quesadillas, or a large salad or anything else you have on hand. Kate would use a ham bone and chicken bouillion cubes. I sometimes have a ham bone, which you would add to the pot at the beginning, and then pull out and add the meat bits back in at the end. But the following is a close approximation of how I usually make split pea soup:

1 bag of dried split peas
1/2 white onion or 4 scallions, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 large stalks of celery, sliced
1 roma tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl. vegetable oil
4 to 6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want this vegetarian/vegan)
salt and papper to taste
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. celery seed

Place all chopped vegetables and herbs in bottom of soup kettle with vegetable oil. Over medium heat, sautee until they are softened. Add chicken broth and dried split peas. Stir and cook at a low/medium boil. Stir often, as the soup will start to thicken, and could stick on the bottom.

Add water as cooking progresses to keep at the consistency you prefer. When peas are tender, use a potato masher and mash some of the soup right in the pot. Cooking time from start to finsh should be about 30 minutes.

Serve hot with croutons, I used small rye squares on this one.


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