This is probably not what you think of as split pea soup. It's not green, but a gorgeous deep golden color (not entirely accurately represented by my cheesy point-and-shoot photo below). It's not super-salty, and it contains no pig. I was even considering leaving the split peas out of the title so as not to turn anyone off. But I'm going to take a risk here. Take a stand for the split peas.
I like to serve it with grilled cheese made with aged white cheddar on whole wheat bread, but it would also make a nice starter to a fancier meal. Or, you can sip it through a straw like Owen likes to do. Do whatever you like-- we try to be a non-judgmental family. But whatever you do, try the soup. You may become a little less judgmental of split peas.
The veggies (etc):
- 1 cup dried yellow split peas (the green variety also work), plus soaking water
- Two large onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1 TBS canola oil
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 TBS minced fresh ginger root
- 7 cups water
- One large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
- One large apple, peeled, cored and cubed (about 1 cup)
- A three-or-four inch cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp chili powder
- One medium tomato, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 TBS lime juice (about half a lime if you're using fresh)
- 1 TBS soy sauce
- Plain yogurt and/or chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
- A little while before you really plan on getting down to business and starting the soup, quick-soak the split peas: Rinse them well, then put them in a saucepan and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, simmer for two minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit for a half hour to a couple hours. Drain them just before you add them to the soup.*
- Heat the oil in your soup pot and saute the onions until they're golden.
- Add the cumin, turmeric, coriander and ginger and stir for about a minute.
- Add the drained split peas, 7 cups water, sweet potatoes, apples, and cinnamon.
- Cover, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until the peas are tender, 30 minutes to an hour.
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder, tomatoes, lime juice and soy sauce. Add to the pot once the peas are done.
- Remove the cinnamon stick**, then puree the soup right in the pot with an immersion blender (you really should invest in one if you don't have one-- they are really quite fun and handy), or blend everything in batches in a food processor or blender. Add water, if needed, to reach a good consistency.
- Gently reheat if you need to, and serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt and a pinch of cilantro leaves if you'd like.
*These instructions are specially adapted to cooking at 8,300 feet. If you live at a more reasonable elevation, you may be able to skip the quick soak and add the rinsed but un-soaked peas right in at step number four. You'll also notice a big window in the cooking time in step number five-- this time will depend on whether you pre-soaked and for how long, as well as, of course, your elevation. Make this once or twice and you'll have a better feel for how much time to allow. Worry not-- if the soup's done early it will not hurt it to sit for a while and be gently reheated. This soup even freezes well.
**I once forgot this step, and started whirring away with the immersion blender, only to find it working kind of jerkily. Then I discovered chunks of bark stuck in the blades. Oops. I managed to salvage the soup, though-- I picked out the big chunks and pureed the bejesus out of what was left. It tasted just like it usually does-- perhaps with a little bonus fiber!
Where credit is due:
This recipe originated from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. I've made a few minor adjustments-- mostly for altitude, and also to remove any (blasphemous!) low-fat references. But the end result is probably pretty true to the original recipe's intentions (and I still firmly believe the intention was to change people's minds about split peas...).
By the way, I have not picked up any Moosewood cookbook and found fewer than a half-dozen recipes I really wanted to try, and most of them that I've tried I've made repeatedly. Good stuff.