Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hearty Pea Soup

"Soup, soup,
A tasty soup, soup..."

Today's cauldron of earthy goodness is slightly adapted from the Hearty Pea Soup in Laurel's Kitchen. The original recipe was one I'd never tried before, and quite frankly it would never have occurred to me to put split peas, white beans, barley, and potatoes in the same pot. But you know what? It totally works, and the result is a delicious, filling meal in a bowl that reminds me of the autumn/winter soups my mom used to make (only better, since most of those contained some unfortunate animal).

The prototype is already vegan, so my main changes were to sauté all of the vegetables - rather than just the onion - and a few additional spices. I also substituted broth for the original's water, increased the barley, stirred in some fresh parsley at the end, and used canned white beans instead of dried because A. I was short on time and B. I am lazy.

My one caveat if you make this - and I really hope you will - is that it takes a while to cook, even if you're using canned beans. So wait until you've got a bit of time and embrace the opportunity to hang out in the kitchen, listen to music, chat with your partner and/or kids and/or dog and/or cat, and maybe even make some bread to go with this hearty, comforting soup. You'll be glad you did!

Hearty Pea Soup
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 large onion, diced
~ 2 large celery stalks, diced
~ 2 large carrots, diced
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 cup green split peas, rinsed and soaked
~ 1/2 cup barley
~ 1 tbsp. basil
~ 2 tsp. each: thyme, dill
~ 1 tsp. each: celery seed, marjoram
~ 1/2 tsp. salt (optional; I find the recommended broth salty enough)
~ Several generous grinds black pepper
~ 2 bay leaves
~10 cups "no chicken" broth
~ 1 14 oz. can white beans, including liquid (I used cannelini)
~ 2 medium potatoes, diced into small cubes
~ 1/2 cup chopped, fresh parsley

~ In a large, deep pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
~ Add the celery, carrots, and garlic, and cook  another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
~ Add the split peas, barley, and dried seasonings and stir to coat.
~ Add the bay leaves and broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
~ Add the white beans and the potatoes and cook another 30 minutes or so, until the split peas and barley are quite soft. Add a bit more broth or water if the soup is getting thicker than you'd like.
~ Fish out the bay leaves, stir in the fresh parsley, and serve. This soup is so substantial that a salad or even just a hunk of bread is all you need for a filling meal. (Also be aware that it thickens as it sets, so you might want to add a little water when you heat up the amazing leftovers.)

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