From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Split pea soup

As often as I make it, as often as I mention it in blog posts, as many pictures I show, I realized today that I've never actually done a post about MAKING split pea soup.  

Go figure.

Oh HERE I've posted about using the hand blender to turn the cooked soup into a luscious smoooooth velvet soup.

But not one that actually shows what goes into the soup.

So here ya go.  (Not just for you, you'd be amazed how often I look up my own recipes!)

It's pretty simple:

Sort 1# (2C) dried split peas for debris, rinse, and soak overnight, changing water half way through.

Drain and rinse the soaked peas.

What I usually do next (but not this time because I FORGOT!  Senior moment... *sigh*) is cover the peas with liquid (a mix of stock and water) so the peas are about 1/4" covered).

Then I would bring them to a boil and start skimming off all the white foam.  This is how you get rid of more of the phytic acid that the overnight soaking released.

After THAT I would add all the goodies:

1C each: carrots, celery, onions.  Then 1/2 of whatever amount of ham I had on hand, reserving the rest for later.

Then the obligatory bay leaf, garlic granules, thyme & chipotle powder (I do like my food spicy!).

Then just bring it all back to a boil, turn it down to simmer (watching now and then to keep the liquid from evaporating.

This batch took nearly 3C of liquid.  The veg will add it's own liquid as it cooks.  

When is it done?  Well, here is this batch after simmering for 1 hour (1st pic).  The veg now melt in your mouth.  The peas do not. They need a little more time.

(2nd pic) Look at this just 45 min later.  Now the peas themselves have pretty much 'melted' and there is clear liquid on top through which creamy peas bubble up.  A quick test for tenderness and everything is soft and lovely.  A good hand whisk would make this into nice soup.  But a hand blender just whips it into green ambrosia!

After the whisk/blender, I add the reserved ham.  It adds texture and more flavor to the soup.  Truly, this is my favorite of my bean & velvet soups.  Maybe that's why I never posted about it before.  It's so simple and so frequent this winter that it's ordinary - like making oatmeal for breakfast.  And who would want to read about that?  LOL  

(Here's something that should have been obvious, but it took me some time to figure this out.  OLD PEAS AND BEANS NEVER REALLY RE-HYDRATE/COOK COMPLETELY.  Since I've been making pea soup so often lately and buying peas a lot, I see now that peas I'd kept for *mumble* months/years made poor soup.  Today's split peas (soaked) cooked up in 1.75 hours - tender and delicious.  Maybe if I stored beans/peas in airtight jars when I bought them, they might be good after a year or two.  But now I try to use bagged beans quickly before they start turning into stones.)

There!  THE difinitive post about split pea soup.  (Except that I forgot to skim foam before adding veg - oh well.  Noted! LOL) 

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