Vegetarian (or not) Split Pea Soup
By Kath Dedon
Some of our friends were returning from a ski trip to British Columbia yesterday, and we invited them for dinner. We weren’t sure exactly how many would be joining us, so I decided to make soup. A big pot of soup can feed any number of people. :) I actually made 1½ times the recipe, so we had enough for 8 – 10 hearty appetites.
The Daily Soup Cookbook has a terrific recipe for Vegetarian Split Pea Soup. I like the way it turns out “soupy” and not as thick as some versions. And yet it is a perfectly filling meal with some bread and a salad.
As always, a homemade broth is best, but I used Swanson’s Natural Goodness Chicken Broth and my soup was pretty good. (Obviously, I chose the “not” vegetarian version.)
I have yet to find a good commercial vegetable broth, so if I wanted to truly make a vegetarian split pea soup I would probably make my own broth. Or I might try making it just with filtered water, increasing the salt a bit.
This is an easy recipe to cut in half if you don’t want to make this much.
Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
Adapted from The Daily Soup Cookbook; the executive chef of The Daily Soup in New York (now closed) was Leslie Kaul
Serves 6, maybe 7
2 tablespoons butter (or oil for a vegan version)
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound green split peas, rinsed and picked over to remove any rocks
8 cups broth (your choice: vegetable, chicken, or just water)
½ cup white wine or Vermouth
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional—I didn’t use it)
1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until tender.
2. Add the thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper and stir to coat the vegetables.
3. Add the split peas, broth and white wine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes until the peas are tender.
4. Remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot. I like to leave it fairly chunky, so I don’t blend it completely. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can carefully blend some of the soup in a blender or food processor and then add it back to the pot. Don’t fill the blender too full, and hold the top on with an oven mitt. The hot soup can send the top flying. (That is why I love my immersion blender!)
5. Add the minced garlic to the soup and simmer for 2 minutes.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with chopped parsley.
“Pea Soup with Friends” (Thanks for the photo, Nette!)