Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day Two: Christine's Best Split Pea Soup

For those of you just joining us, Thin Crust Deep Dish is in the middle of our week of Scrumptious, Sumptuous Soups!  Each day we're bringing you another soup recipe to keep you warm and happy through this frigid first week of February.  So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce today's very special guest...

I met Christine (aka: Kylie's Mom) when I was in 7th grade.  That night, she fed us her delicious pasta puttanesca.  Well gosh darn if that wasn't the tastiest pasta I'd ever eaten in my 13 years.  I hung out at Kylie's house around dinner time a lot more after that.  But she didn't just win my heart with her pasta.  No, she used other foods as well!  She took me on my very first trip to the Puyallup State Fair where she bought a giant, deep-fried elephant ear with cinnamon and sugar.  Kylie and her mom daintily tore off pieces and ate them tiny bite by tiny bite.  I took a more efficient, though slightly less lady-like, approach.  Yes, those sticky, cinnamon dusted days are ones I'm not soon to forget.  And though I moved away and haven't had her cooking in several years, Kylie tells me that she's churning out culinary triumphs like never before.  She was even kind enough to share one of her favorite recipes with us...

What’s the name of your soup?

Best Split Pea Soup

Were you inspired by someone else’s recipe?  If so, which one?
This recipe was taken from a vegetarian cookbook called the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.  It is as close to my Grandma’s recipe as I have ever found.   I update it a bit by adding a ham hock.

Does this soup have a story?

When I was little, my Grandma used to create some of the most wonderful culinary aromas in our kitchen.  One of my favorites was her cherry pie and the other was split pea soup.  The bouquet of the soup used to waft throughout the house, and I can remember running in from playing, several times, just to capture a whiff of that soup.  It smelled hearty and significant, as though it was going to be something very special, and it always was.

Should this soup be eaten alongside anything in particular?  Or at a certain time of day?  Or in a certain kind of weather?

Think about making this soup in the late fall/winter when it is a little nippy or dark and rainy outside (as it is quite often in Seattle).  It will warm you up and make you feel grateful for the weather outside.  This soup is especially good with warm crusty bread or maybe some homemade croutons on top - if you do a salad, it should be light, as this soup is very filling.  It is a meal all in itself.

Part 1
1 package dry, green split peas (rinse well in strainer)
7 cups water (more, if needed)
Add water to split peas and let sit overnight.
Start early the next day, this soup needs to simmer a long time.
Add 1 bay leaf
2 tsp. salt
1 Ham hock

Cover and simmer 3 to 4 hours, remove bay leaf and ham hock after 3 hours.  Let ham hock cool.  When cool enough to handle, remove ham from hock and add to soup.

Part 2
In 2 Tbsp. olive oil sauté the following:
1 cup minced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup minced celery
1 small, thinly-sliced potato
2 cups sliced carrots
If necessary, add a little water to steam vegetables.  When tender, add to soup and continue simmering.  If soup is getting too thick, add more water.

Part 3
About 15 minutes before serving time, add:
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. thyme
Several drops of sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Part 4
Just before serving, add:
3 Tbsp. vinegar
¼ cup freshly-chopped parsley


1 comment:

  1. These soups have been delicious looking so far and I can't wait to try them! I was so inspired that I dug into my refrigerator for any vegetables I could find which ended up being a sweet potato (not a veggie, I know), an eggplant, a zucchini, a carrot, and some mushrooms, and I chopped them up and threw them in a pot with water, pasta, and a few bouillon cubes. It made a delicious soup and I was so happy this blog inspired me to improvise with what I had. Mmmmm soup!



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