Split pea is an old love, but I never make it the same way twice. What's cool about this version is a. the lick of lemon up against the spicy notes and b. texture layers-- i.e. crunchy, seedy tortilla chips and smooth sour cream on top of the soup, which is about halfway pureed.
Legume soups are healthy and inexpensive, but I'm mostly drawn to them because they're tasty, homey, and filling. I adore the look, smell, and feel of a big pot of bean soup bubbling away on the stove nearly anytime. Split pea is about the quickest in the group, though lentils are right up there.
About an hour, especially if you use the food processor for chopping, you've got super soup. I've made them while camping, using a Coleman stove. They're so simple and accepting of different ingredients that as long as you have the dried beans in the pantry and a few staples like onions, carrots, and celery, you've got soup. Add-ins might be zucchini, jalapeno, or leftover asparagus; toppings might be minced cucumber or grated Parmesan or oyster crackers. A bit of crunchy bacon on top could replace ham hocks or chopped ham in the soup. No meat at all, made with vegetable stock, and it's great for a vegan meal. Versatile is the word for these soups. Make a big pot, freeze individual portions (Tupperware makes freezer-microwave safe containers), and you have lunch.
The day I made this, I called a friend at 10 and said, "Come for lunch at 12." I started the soup at 11 and, well, it was a good thing she was a little late. I was still pureeing at 12:10, but that might have been because I was doing ten other things in the middle... Honest, it's pretty quick for soup. I think Dave ate nearly three bowls and the friend two. While not in the habit of wine at lunch except while on vacation or for tasting, we did each have a half-glass of California Chardonnay with this and thought it a fine sip. I think, with the heat in this soup (and I like several sorts of heat at once), an off-dry Oregon or German Riesling would be a good match as well. Try this:
lemon split pea soup with peppered sour cream
- 2T olive oil
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 small red potatoes chopped (with peel)
- 2 cups dried split peas
- 1 cup chopped ham
- 1/2 tsp each dried thyme, marjoram, crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp each freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
- 1 qt each vegetable and chicken stock
- 2 cups water or 1 cup water and 1 cup white wine
- 4-6 drops hot sauce
- 2T fresh lemon juice
Tortilla chips with seeds
In an 8-qt stockpot, heat oil over medium heat and add celery, onion, carrots, and potatoes. Dust with a bit of salt and pepper and cook, stirring, five minutes or so. Add everything else except the lemon juice. Stir and raise heat to high. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer. Cook until peas and vegetables are tender, about an hour. Add lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings. Puree using an immersion blender or in batches in the food processor. If you'd like a chunkier soup, leave it as is or crush briefly with a potato masher. Serve hot with seeded tortilla chips and a dollop of peppered sour cream for toppings.
Cook's Note: If you'd like a crock-pot version, try this on my Dinner Place blog (Cooking for One.) I did say I liked to make split pea soup.
Sing a new song,