Thursday, March 12, 2009

I love split pea soup

I really do. It’s the ultimate stone soup.  Throw in a handful of split peas for just pennies, three times as much water (by volume), a little salt and you have a fine soup.  Add some thyme, some pepper, maybe a little hot sauce.  Or use chicken broth instead of water. Even better, use a rich homemade chicken stock. And we haven’t even started talking about adding pork, usually pork with plenty of fat. Fry up some bacon, crumble it, and set it aside.  Sauté some chopped carrots, onions, and celery (mirepoix) in the bacon fat, then add your stock/water, the split peas, and your seasonings.  Be a little more careful about the salt because the bacon fat will add some.  Cook the soup for about an hour then sprinkle the bacon bits over the top when you serve it. Of course there is the traditional ham hock, in which case you should sauté the mirepoix and then add the ham hock and plenty of water to cover. Do this first thing in the morning, and when you get home from work throw in a couple of handfuls of split peas.  By the time you’ve changed into something comfy and unwound with a glass of viognier (about an hour), your soup will be ready for you. I don’t even bother picking the meat off of the ham hock until after having the “first day” soup.  When you put it away for leftovers, that’s when you pick off all of the meat so you have a very different soup the second time around.

Today I got a little fancy with the vegetables and cut carrots and celery into brunoise, a very fine dice that is pretty in the soup and gives some texture contrast. I used some rich chicken stock I made from roasted chicken bones. It’s filling up the house with a nice comforting aroma, and I know Dave will smile when he walks in the door.  He says he doesn’t really like split pea soup, but I know he’ll like mine.

Your investment accounts might look a little poor these days, but you can still eat rich on a budget.


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