Last Monday, Jan. 31, had me running to Kroger after work to pick up supplies to survive the ice storm that swept through the Midwest last week.
While I was there I remembered this post on the lovely blog Orangette by the equally lovely Molly Wizenberg. Although the deli counter was sold out of pre-sliced turkey, these were still very much in stock.
Yes, split peas. After I picked these up, I stood in the dry legume/rice aisle for a good five minutes trying to remember if I’ve ever actually eaten split pea soup. It’s one of those menu items that’s there but no one really orders because it’s strange, lumpy and a stomach-turning shade of puce. Yeah, I went there: puce. I had the big box of crayons growing up.
I am now a reformed split-pea-soup-hater-who-had-never-eaten-split-pea-soup. I made a big pot of this on Monday, and then proceeded to eat it for the rest of the week. It was warm, comforting and a no effort dinner after driving home, hunched over my steering wheel going 15 mph on the road masquerading as a skating rink.
I used the recipe as guideline and altered it to fit my preferences. I don’t like ham all that much. It always had a mild gelatinous texture to me. Meat shouldn’t resemble Jell-O. Ever.
I omitted the ham. I used onion instead of leek, but since onions are my favorite vegetable I used three. Next time I’ll make sure to buy a leek because I think it would be good in this soup. And I left out the Apple Cider Vinegar because I forgot to add it.
Split pea soup, a variation on Molly Wizenberg’s recipe, which was initially inspired by Winnie Yang.
1 Tbs. olive oil, you can use more if you want to
3 medium yellow onions, sliced into thin half moons
2 large carrots, small dice
1 bag (about 2 cups) dried split peas
8 cups water
1 Tbs. salt
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1. In a large sauce pan or soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots are just starting to get tender, about 10 minutes.
2. In a mesh strainer, rinse the split peas and make sure to remove any dirt or debris. Add the peas, water, salt and pepper. Cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours. If your dried peas, and this goes for other dried legumes as well, are on the younger side it’ll take less time. Cook until the peas have broken down or when you reach the consistency you prefer.
3. Serve in big bowls with crusty bread for dipping.
I challenge anyone to take an appetizing picture of split pea soup. I know this doesn’t look good, but it is. It’s like a blanket for your stomach, which is great when you’re riding out an ice storm praying that the power stays on.
Stay warm. With any luck, the groundhog’s prediction will come true and Spring will come six weeks earlier.