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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Celebrating Autumn. Split Pea Soup.

Even here in my Sonoran Desert the temperatures have dropped. OK sure we aren't expecting snow or anything. It's 65F today with puffy white clouds, crystal blue sky and a nice breeze. Mom would make soup on days like this. One of my all-time favorites is Split-Pea. Creamy without cream. Hearty without a bunch of meat. Slightly sweet and earthy with flavors of vegetables and fresh herbs. Easy Peasy...HAH see what I did there? Grab a bottle of dry sherry, let's do this.


I used about 2 pounds dried split-peas. I'm making a grip of soup but if you don't need to, divide in half.
1 large Onion
2-3 Carrots, peeled
2-3 stalks Celery
1 clove of Garlic, smooshed
Salt Pork. As much or as little you want. Chop it up fine. Hey look, if you're a vegetarian then just use some Olive Oil for the first step.
8 cups either Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 bottle dry sherry
Pinch of ground Nutmeg
Pinch or so or Chili Powder
2 dried Bay Leaves
Fresh Herbs. Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Mint. Yes, I said Mint, a much under-used herb, brilliant with peas.
and of course. Kosher Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper
In case ya'll didn't know, Peas are in fact Legumes but you won't need to soak them overnight or anything. The British do but I have no idea why.

Dump all the Peas in a Colander and rinse under cold water. Remove any little pebbles or anything that looks wacky.
Grab your vegetables and small dice.

mince up all the Herbs

and small dice up your Salt Pork.

I bet you can see where this is going. Peas as legumes contain a bunch of Starch that will render out and give us that wonderful creamy mouth feel.

Heat up your deep pot and throw in the salt pork.

Toss that around for a bit and add the vegetables with a big pinch of Kosher Salt and Pepper also the pinch of Nutmeg and Chili Powder. Stir that around a bit, we're just sweating. Add all the herbs.

Add all Peas, toss it

 dump in half the bottle of Sherry and all Stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and relax.

 Let it go until everything is soft. Stir once in a while, you'll notice that the Peas will just dissolve.  You can stop there if you want but if you have a Thunder-Stick (hand blender) use that to puree a little, not a lot. Leave some whole, adds to the texture and character.

 I have always believed in that old adage that soups are always better the next day. I'm hungry NOW so I'm not waiting. Once you have it in your bowl, sprinkle a little bit of Sherry on top.

 That wasn't so hard was it? Allowing for prep-time the whole thing takes about an hour and thirty. I remember my Mom would give us bowls of this with piles of Saltines and we would just go nuts.
I made some of my Sausage and Cheese bread because soup without bread is sad. I'll happily share the recipe if you ask.

To all of you I wish a cozy and snuggly Autumn. 
Cooking poor, eating rich
get your grub on

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