Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Split-Pea Soup to End All Split-Pea Soups

One of my New Year's projects was to (is still to) get rid of old stuff. I had a whole stack of old foodie magazines hogging precious cookbook shelf space, and decided once and for all to peruse them for the good recipes to cut out and save, and chuck the rest. My eyes fell (and feasted) on an otherwise inconspicuous recipe for split-pea soup. Split-peas in any form aren't something I grew up with, in fact I can't recall my mom ever making them. Scandinavia on the other hand, has a thing for split-pea soup. Yellow split-pea soup. They call it simply, pea soup (ærtesuppe). I first got real close and personal with it in Finland, when I lived there for that dark, cold semester. Hernekeitto is the national dish every Thursday. Thursday is simply pea soup day, and every Finnish restaurant and cafeteria with any self-respect serves just that on that day. I admit, I liked it, but it's also a notorious dish that people love to hate, indluding my mother-in-law! And I can understand why. The soup is normally heavy on the peas, making it really thick, almost pasty, and this is especially how it turns when people by the packages of "just add water" pea soup. Paste is not, and will never be soup, so folks who like that kind of thing can keep it for themselves. Yuck!

But this recipe will change that. I'm convinced that this soup can make a split-pea soup lover out of anyone. I think the winning aspects of this soup are the "hiddenness" of the peas, and the mighty fine chunks of yummy veg (and bacon, if you add that). I tried it on my husband and kids yesterday. Kids ate everything (under pressure, admittedly), husband loved it. Will serve it to my MIL and get back to you on that one :)


250 g. split-peas, preferably yellow
2 bay leaves
3 carrots, in small cubes
2 parsnip, or parsley root, in small cubes
3 large potatoes, in small cubes
3 medium onions, diced or sliced as you like
3 sprigs of thyme, or 2 tsp dried
apple cider vinegar to taste
salt and pepper ditto

First off, boil your peas and bay leaves in ample water to cover them, roughly 45 min. Drain afterward, discard the bay leaves, and set aside for the time being.
Now, sauter you onions in some butter and oil, when they're soft, add all your cubed veggies, and 1 liter of water on top of that. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. When you've done that, drain the veggie water on top of you peas, and blitz away until it's all smooth and soupy, mine was pretty watery too, which is fine, because you won't get that characteristic pea-pastyness. Add your veggies to your peas, and put your thyme in as well. Let bubble for a bit, and when you're about ready to eat, season with apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. Note that you might need quite a bit of salt, I did in any case.

Notes: this recipe serves 4.
Also, I added about 4-5 slices of thick, diced bacon. I sautered it with the onions, until the onions were soft, and the bacon was glistening. So, leave out the bacon, you have a very tasty vegan dinner.
The original recipe called for a fennel bulb, diced, which I didn't have, so had to make do without. I can only imagine it will be tastier with, if you're into that sort of thing.

Enjoy with fresh bread like we did!