Sunday, March 28, 2010

Resolution Recipe: Split Pea Soup

One of my all-time favorite soups, but oddly enough I have never made it myself!  Since warmer weather is on the way here in New England, this will probably be the last time I make it for awhile.  This recipe was inspired by seeing Paula Deen's husband enjoying her split pea soup so much, and with a nod to Alton Brown's recipe.

2 Cups of Split Peas (I used 1c. each of yellow and green)
4 Cups Chicken Stock
2-3 Cups Water (depending on how soupy you want it)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Keilbasa sausage or ham (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 Cup Carrots (grated or chopped small)
2 Tablespoons curry powder
Sage or other savory herbs of your choice
small shake of ground ginger, nutmeg and cinammon

**This recipe doesn't call for salt because you're using chicken broth and cooking with sausage or ham, all of which have plenty of salt. If you're doing a vegetarian version of this dish, you'll need to add salt at the beginning of the cooking process, and then check it again at the end.

Before cooking, shake the split peas onto a cookie sheet (or other clean, flat surface) and sift through them for small rocks. I only found 1, but man you do NOT want to find that the hard way (with your teeth!). Measure out desired amount (for our purposes, 2 cups) then set aside.

For optimal cooking, we (yeah, that's the royal we) recommend a heavy-bottomed pot.

Melt your butter in the pot, then add the chopped onion (you may also add a clove of garlic if you are so inclined, and who isn't??). You really only want to sweat the onion, so cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, and watch carefully so the onion doesn't brown. I add the curry powder and other spices and herbs to the onions (mostly because I love the way it smells!)

Once the onion is cooked, add in your split peas, your chicken broth and the water. Increase the heat to bring to a boil.

While it's heating up, grate or shred the carrots and chop up the sausage or ham (or both, heck why not??), then drop them in as well. After it reaches a nice rollicky boil, turn it down to simmer and cover it.

Cooking time should be about an hour and a half, but watch to add more water if needed, and stir occasionally.

I served this with a little cheese sprinkled on top and some French bread on the side. You could also serve it over rice (since peas are a legume, they are really good friends with grains like rice, and your body will get more nutrition out of both of them if you serve them together!).