Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Smokey Split Pea Soup

This is an easy recipe to make. Just some chopping of carrots and onion, saute, throw in spices, broth and split peas and simmer. The smoked paprika gives it that smoked ham essence without ending the lives of any piggies. (We like that.)  I didn't have much smoked paprika left so I had to use mostly regular Spanish paprika. I think it's worth it to have some smoked on hand for this soup.

My only complaint, and it could be ME not the recipe, is that the dried split peas took forever to cook. I tried doubling and tripling the simmer time, adding more water and still had hard peas. This is the first time I've ever made split pea soup. (Well, the first time I remember that I've made split pea soup. Apparently by age nearly-50 one starts forgetting what one has done in one's life.) Should I have soaked the peas first? No instruction to do so. And I thought split peas and lentils were both so small you could cook straight from dry without soaking. I'll investigate. The taste is great, though.

One thing I do remember from childhood is that my mom always put some sherry in our Campbell's split pea soup, and yes, it was always good. (Yeah, I even did that as a kid.) I didn't have any sherry in the house today, but I had some sake, which is another sweet wine. It worked. I think any white wine will do.

I garnished the soup with croutons for the picture, but since I am wheat-free these days, I will eat it without them. I used to eat split pea soup with tons of broken up saltines, too. I could see adding some veggie bacon bits for some more of that hammy flavor.

I did a little research and found some info on how to cook split peas. Mine should have cooked, although the salt I added before cooking might have caused my problems. I'll have to experiment next time and not add any salt until after they are done.

One thing I didn't do was rinse the peas and sort out stones first. I'll just have to hope they are fine! Blame it on the Campbell's generation, huh?

Here are some websites that offer interesting info about cooking with split peas:

Did the DD eat it? No. "I don't like pea soup."
Would I make this again? Yes, if only to see if I can get the peas to cook through.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Forks

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