If allowed to cool, Split Pea Soup thickens considerably; however, it gets thinner as it reheats. When reheating, stir constantly, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. After the soup is heated, add additional water as needed to obtain the desired consistency. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
YIELD: 10 (1 cup) servings
1 (16-ounce) package dried green or yellow split peas (2 cups), rinsed and drained
8 to 10 cups water (as needed to yield desired consistency)
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, scrubbed and diced
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice or hulled barley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon pepper (optional)
Additional water (as needed to yield desired consistency)
GARNISH AND ACCOMPANIMENTS (optional):
1/2 cup imitation bacon bits
Oyster or saltine crackers
In a large kettle, combine 8 cups water, split peas, onion, celery, carrots, brown rice or barley, cumin, garlic, bay leaf, and liquid smoke seasoning, bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the peas are disintegrating and the rice is done, stirring often.
The soup thickens as it nears completion and has a tendency to stick, so be vigilant! If the mixture becomes too thick, add water, 1/2 cup at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
Season to taste with salt and pepper (if using).
Discard the bay leaf.
If available, use an immersion blender right in the kettle to partially blend the soup – it should still be somewhat chunky.
Or, transfer one half of the soup to a conventional blender, vent the lid, wrap the top and sides with a clean towel to prevent the steam from lifting the lid and splashing the hot soup (it can happen – believe me!), blend until smooth, then stir the soup back into the kettle.
Serve hot with imitation bacon bits and/or oyster or saltine crackers if desired.
(Each recipe in Amazing Meals also includes a Nutrition Profile. The recipes are also often followed with additional notes, either on nutrition, meal planning, presentation, further information on ingredients etc. I am including the note that follows this recipe in the book.)
A few legumes, such as split peas and lentils are well cooked in less than an hour. However, many dried legumes – including pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans etc., require a long soaking and/or cooking time and must either be started well ahead, or purchased canned. Unfortunately, canned legumes, though convenient, may be prohibitively high in sodium for someone on a sodium restricted diet. The sodium can be reduced by up to 40 percent by draining and rinsing the beans before use. Some stores carry a limited supply of low- and no-salt labels.
Recipe taken from Amazing Meals, Volume 1, by LuAnn Bermeo, Lithotech Press, copyright 2007.
Posted by LuAnn on KRT.
P.S. Regarding the addition of grains (rice or barley), I was adding brown rice to my split pea soup even before I was married, over 30 years ago! I sometimes increase the amount of garlic when I'm making this for us -- just adjust seasonings to your taste, of course. Keep in mind that the commercially prepared NS soup that you remember may have included some flavor enhancers, such as msg (remember "Accent")? The food manufacturers have lots of "tricks". Scientists have conjured up chemical formulas which can make fast food "strawberry shakes," for instance, have a more intense strawberry flavor than real strawberries, yet contain NO real strawberries! When we get used to eating these super-charged pseudo-foods, it takes a while for us to fully appreciate naturally occurring flavors, which are often more delicate. Another common trick is to "up" the amounts of fat, sugar, and salt. I have no idea if this NS includes such tactics, but it may explain why adding a little sugar to your soup seemed to make it taste more like you remember NS's soup!