In honor of our nation's economic crisis and the first below-80-degree days of autumn in New Orleans, I offer you a smashing recipe for Split Pea Soup. I've made this recipe, from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, several times over the past ten years, and every time I make it, I'm astounded at how easily I forget that (a) it makes a LOT of soup for very little money, and (b) it's darn good.
This is also the kind of food that I crave after weekends filled with fried foods (it is football season, after all). You know how it is when your body aches for something un-fancy, natural, and legumed. You need some green--stat.
No ham? This recipe is meatless, and can be made with water instead of stock, which cuts costs considerably. I've made it before with a big ham hock thrown in at the start, with tasty results. But I honestly prefer the vegetarian version for its clear, earthy flavor.
8-qt. pot? You must have a pot that will hold at least 8 quarts of liquid to contain this recipe. Check the bottom of your pot for its capacity.
Unpeeled potatoes? Ina calls for the potatoes to be unpeeled, I think, for extra flavor and texture. I agree, but to a lesser extent. I usually use 6 potatoes and peel 3 of them.
Parker's Split Pea Soup
from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups diced carrots (a medium-sized dice)
- 2 cups diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled
- 2 pounds dried split green peas (sorted and rinsed)
- 16 cups chicken stock or water
- In an 8-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, 1 1/2 pounds split peas, and stock or water. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking.
- Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper and serve hot.