Thursday, September 30, 2010

Split pea soup

Mm, green.

I am taking German right now, and I love it. Monday morning, my bike ride to school was pleasantly cool, so I declare that we have now entered Suppezeit! Suppezeit is a great time of year, albeit somewhat short in Houston. Only in a place as hot, humid, and long-summered as Houston would someone declare Suppezeit on an 86-degree day. But get this, although the temperature was 86 degrees, it only “felt like” 83 degrees, according to whomever decides these things. If you’ve lived in Houston, you know what a big deal that is. But I digress. The point is, I love soup, and I am very happy to be moving into soup season.

I made this soup on Monday after a long day at school. With just a little measuring, chopping, and patience, I had a warm, filling dinner and over a quart of leftovers. Stay tuned for a nice use of those leftovers in an upcoming post. While the soup is cooking, you can make a salad and some nice salad dressing (recipe also forthcoming). I also ate it with a slice of yogurt bread toast with a lot of butter.

I love the cumin-smoked paprika combo I used in this soup. Both spices add a lot of umami, which makes the soup really satisfying. Some vegetarian split pea soups are bland or way too salty, but I think the spices in this one give it some depth and flavor without adding too much salt. This vegetarian thinks that smoked paprika is a great substitute for the smoky, savory ham flavor in a lot of split pea soups. I put celery seeds in there because I didn’t have celery. They were fine, but add a diced celery rib if you’ve got one.

Split pea soup
makes 6 cups-ish, enough for at least 4 meals

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced, if you have it
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp celery seeds if you don’t have a celery rib
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 lb split peas
6 cups vegetable broth or 6 cups water with 1 tbsp Better than Bouillon soup base

Heat vegetable oil in a soup pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion, carrot, and spices. Saute until onion and carrot are soft and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add split peas and broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until peas are done to your liking, about 40 minutes.

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