The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
I love to cook soups all year round. They are easy to make, can be made in quantity for a hearty meal today and leftovers to freeze, and are a perfect way for a vegetarian to eat lots of varieties of vegetables. In winter, especially, nothing tastes better on a cold day than a hot and comforting bowl of soup. And the gold standard warm fuzzy of winter soups is split-pea.
I have to admit, though, I
hated didn’t really like split-pea soup until I came across Sheila Lukins’ End of the Line Split Pea Soup in Parade magazine years ago and turned it into a vegetarian version. The recipe was one of several in an article about crock-pot meals. My work schedule had increased and I wanted to dust off my crock-pot so that dinner would be ready when I came home. Since Rebecca didn’t eat meat and Rachel didn’t eat pork (a decision made at age 7 after watching the movie Babe), I modified the recipe and turned it into a vegetarian split pea. I couldn’t believe how delicious it turned out…not like any split pea soup I had ever had before. I think that taking out the ham improves the flavor and lets you taste the subtleties of the vegetables and flavorings. It has become one of our favorite meals (and made me a split-pea convert!)
You can make this recipe in a crock-pot or on the stove and it turns out equally as well. If you make it on the stove, you can double it, have enough for several days and also some to freeze. It is even better the next day when it sets up and thickens (you can add more broth the next day if you prefer it thinner). I often make it on the stove in the early afternoon and then let it sit for a few hours to thicken. If you make it in the crock-pot, just chop all the vegetables and put in the pot with all of the other ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours. (You can make it the night before and let it cook all night, then refrigerate it in the morning and reheat at night). The parsnips give the soup a yummy sweetness—and the tarragon, its complexity. Don’t substitute for either of these flavorings.
Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
(adapted from Sheila Lukins End of the Line Split Pea Soup)
1 pound dried green split peas
2 carrots, peeled
2 ribs celery
1 leek (3 inches of green left on, root trimmed, split lengthwise + washed well)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, or 1-2 T chopped fresh
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Pick over the peas; rinse, drain and set aside:
2. Cut the carrots, celery, onion, parsnip and leek into small dice. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over low heat. Add the diced vegetables...
...cook until wilted, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the peas; cook for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, thyme, tarragon, broth and water.
...Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are cooked, about an hour. (If you are cooking in a crock pot, just add chopped vegetables and everything else to the pot and cook for 8-10 hours).
Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs, if used. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You can let it sit for awhile to thicken. Then when ready to serve, heat it up and stir in the parsley. (Serves 6 & can be doubled!)
(I serve this soup with an arugula salad and cornbread for a perfect meal!)
Stay tuned for more soup next week!