Saturday, October 25, 2014

Double Split Pea Soup with Diced Ham

Once a week I try a soup recipe and make sure that it makes enough soup for me to have for lunches for the whole week and dinner for Friday night.  Now I just need to start making either some crusty bread or biscuits to go with it.  That will have to be a project for another time.

The first week that I did this I had a hankering for split pea soup.  Don't ask me where it came from because I have never really liked split pea soup.  I remember when I was going to college my grandfather would make a crockpot full about once a month and God help you if you touched it.  So I never got to taste his so my experience has always been with canned split pea soup and it always had a consistency of watery baby food and a fake ham flavor to it.  Now don't get me wrong I do like pureed soup but I just couldn't get into mushy watery pea soup.  So, like I said I had a hankering for some pea soup and figured that I had just purchased the Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero so I went looking for a recipe.  I figured a vegan cookbook would be a really good place to start for pea soup and guess what it was.  Now I did use their recipe but made a few changes of my own to make it fit my tastes.  Ok, the two changes I made was I added diced ham and minced garlic to it.  But if you want it to remain vegan just omit the ham.  Just a little bit of advice is it is best to make this soup the day before and then let it marinate overnight in the fridge before reheating and serving.  I tasted the soup when it was done and it was ok, but the next day when I reheated it for lunch I swear the whole flavor and even scent of the soup had changed.  It was the best pea soup I had ever had!  Definitely a recipe that I will be making over and over again!

The Veganomicon was something that I stumbled onto when I was at the library one day browsing the cookbook section.  Yes I browse the cookbook, knitting, quilting, sewing, and now gardening sections.  I came across The Veganomicon and I remember reading about it in one of the magazines I subscribe to and decided to check it out.  Now I've checked out other vegan cookbooks and felt kind of cheated when a lot of the recipes turn around and take recipes that had meat in them and just tell you to substitute the meat with some meat substitute or another.  Personally to me it feels like they took the easy way out instead of experimenting to try and find a way to make the original recipe vegan while making it taste amazing.  That's what I love about this book.  There are so many AMAZING recipes in this book and I think of the 5 or so soups that I've made I only added meat to one of them and it was the pea soup.

They have a recipe for Brown Rice and Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup that has made me swear off any store bought tomato soup and in the past cream of tomato soup was my all time favorite! Last week we tried the French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme and this week it's Baked Potato and Greens Soup.  So far we haven't had a bad one yet.  I have a brother who doesn't like spinach but he tasted the soup I made last night and he said it was pretty good.  Another thing I've noticed is that when I enter the recipes into the recipe calculator for Spark People the calorie counts are really good and I'm amazed with the nutrient counts on them.  Just so you don't think that all they have are really phenomenal soup recipes they also have a great section on how to grill, roast, and steam different types of vegetables.  I was always afraid of recipes that called for a roasted red bell peppers so I would either skip them or I would get the ones that come in a jar.  I now know after having roasted 2 red bell peppers for this recipe that I cheated myself and those I served the recipes with the jarred peppers or by skipping what could have been really good recipes.  To date we've roasted asparagus, red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes.  Last night I steamed some fresh spinach, which tasted so much better than frozen, so I think this book has paid for itself many times over!  It was a Christmas present that I gave to myself that was well worth it!

Double Split-Pea Soup with Diced Ham
adapted from the Veganomicon

3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
2 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 1/2 quarts water
1 pound dried split green peas
1-inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
1 bay leaf
2 tsps dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-oz) bag frozen green peas
2  roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, diced  (see below)
1 package Oscar Mayer Carving Board Ham, diced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1.  Preheat a large stockpot over medium heat.  Saute the onions 5 to 7 minutes, until softened.  Add the carrots and celery, and saute for another 5 minutes until the veggies are soft and slightly golden.

2.  Add the water, split peas, ginger, bay leaf, thyme, tarragon, garlic, coriander, and cumin.  Cover, raise the heat to high to bring to a rolling boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and allow the soup to simmer, covered for 45 to 50 minutes until the split peas turn soft and mushy.  While the split peas are cooking in a frying pan over medium heat warm up the diced ham for a couple minutes. Like my Nana used to say you just want to take the chill out of it.

3.  Stir in the frozen green peas, diced roasted red pepper, and diced ham.  Cover, and raise the heat to bring to a boil again, then lower the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until green peas are tender.

4.  Remove the ginger and bay leaf.  Once cool refrigerate overnight and reheat before serving.  Enjoy!

How to Roast a Red Bell Pepper
Olive Oil
2 red bell peppers
1 baking sheet

1.  Preheat oven to 425*.
2.  While the oven is preheating cover the baking sheet with foil and spray it with olive oil.
3.  Cut the red bell peppers in half lengthwise (from stem to bottom of red pepper) and remove the stem and seeds.
4.  Put the peppers cut side down and spray the peppers with olive oil.
5.  Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes  or until skin is dark brown in spots.  

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