Sunday, October 25, 2009

Keeping Warm/Easy Split Pea-sy Soup

It actually snowed here the other day. On October 22 it snowed. I still can't get over it, I know it’s supposed to be colder this far north, but snow, already!? Until this weekend, I have stubbornly been pretending it wasn't all that cold even though the thermometer has already gone as low as 28 degrees (that’s -2 degrees for all you Canadian readers). Not surprisingly, I found myself sick as a dog and navigating an October snowstorm wearing nothing but a flimsy scarf and light jacket. Clearly, being stubborn did not work in my favor. So, I finally had no choice but to give in to winter, my gloves and boots are officially in use and I turned the heat on in my apartment.

The only good news about this ridiculous weather is that soup season has officially begun, and although I may not like the cold, I love soup. It is the only dinner that can actually thaw me out after a long session in the frigid library. Also, I love eating anything out of a bowl with a spoon; you can try and figure that one out because I still haven't. Either way, soups are my winter go-to, so I am always experimenting with different kinds. My time limitations require that they take no longer than an hour to make and that they don’t require constant supervision. With this in mind and my craving for a thicker pureed soup rather than a brothy one, I made split pea soup the night it snowed. Even though I got angry at the soup for popping up and burning my hand while I puréed it, we made up; I couldn't stay mad at such a tasty soup for long.

This time I served it with a drizzle of chili oil and some goat cheese, which melts and adds a delicious creamy tang. Sometimes, if I am feeling a little more decadent I crisp up some bacon and crumble it in as well. I like using bacon in quicker soups, because it adds a slow cooked, homey flavor despite the store-bought broth and the short cooking time. This soup can be dressed up or down, but no matter how you serve it, it will certainly warm you up after the first (and even second, third, or millionth) snow.

Split Pea Soup
makes about 2 quarts

1 white onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 large carrots (or 8 baby carrots), chopped
1 rib of celery, sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups split peas, rinsed
2 sprigs rosemary
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups of water (or a bit more depending on how thick/thin you want it)
salt and pepper to taste

1) Sautée the onion, garlic, carrots and celery in the olive oil over medium heat. When they are soft, add the split peas, rosemary, broth and water.
2) Bring this to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer covered for about 45 minutes until the peas are soft and cooked through. Take out the rosemary branches (the 'leaves' will have fallen off).
3) Turn the heat off and using a hand-held blender, puree the soup until smooth or to your liking.
4) Taste and add salt and pepper as desired (the broth will usually add a good amount of saltiness). Put it back over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes just to warm it through. Serve hot, in a bowl with a spoon.
5) If there are leftovers, store them in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze them.

• If you make it with bacon, render the fat of the bacon, take it out leaving the rendered fat in the pot, add only one tbsp. of olive oil and then sautée the vegetables.
• Cut the bacon into small pieces and it in right after puréeing.


Katerina said...

I love the idea of adding chili oil, and everything is better then goat cheese. I bet croutons would be good too!

pdc said...

Ha il tritatutto, what an invention !!! also called a handheld blender...

Dana said...

That soup looks so good to me! My husband has a deep suspicion of split pea soups so I will have to make this when he is out of town...

Faith said...

My mom used to make pea soup for us when we were kids, so it's a real favorite of mine. Your version looks wonderful, I especially love the goat cheese!

Kelsey B. said...

This soup looks delicious! I can't believe it is already cold weather cooking season. Sigh. Where did fall go?

jaime said...

this soup certainly looks like the perfect addition to a snowy cold winter night in montreal. it's going to be a long winter full of lots of pea soup, CAN'T WAIT!

Ellie said...

Sounds good and look delicious! Love the chili oil.

peasepudding said...

I love pea soup and adding goats cheese to it for serving sounds like heaven, I'll try that next time i make, thanks.