Yellow Split Pea Soup
In spite of being a summer person, I do like the change of seasons. Right now, as summer turns into fall, the leaves on the trees outside my kitchen are turning yellow and I am pulling out my signature long shawls to wrap around myself when going out at night. Same thing is happening in the kitchen and I find myself returning to the warm and comforting foods of cooler weather. A soup is simmering contently in a pot at the back of the stove, bread dough is rising silently in a bowl in a quiet corner on the counter. The change in season shows itself outside and as well as in my kitchen.
September is exciting for foodies. For us food enthusiasts September is much like a beginning of a new year. Bright summer fruits and vegetables are being replaced by fall produce and gorgeous deep fall colours of reds, orange and browns begin to dominate the stalls at the market. Apples, squashes and pears are displayed alongside lingering summer fruits and vegetables. The very first blushing pomegranates are just showing up and flats of deep-purple figs (from California) are tempting, soft and plump. The last bags of summer cucumbers are hauled off by canning enthusiasts (not me) and I buy the last of the sun-riped tomatoes to keep in the freezer and use over the winter for soups and sauces.
The yellow split pea soup that is the subject of this post is very quick and easy to make and produces a hearty, country style, old fashion soup. I served it inside a hollowed-out bread bowl made from a small, round loaf of bread I bought at a local bakery. I drizzled the bread with olive oil and toasted it in the oven for just a few minutes before ladling the soup into it. It made for a fun presentation and a hearty, country style meal. With a nice crisp salad for us this is a a lovely weekend lunch or dinner. For more information on split peas check this site.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery, inner leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups yellow split peas
8 cups water, vegetable or vegetarian chicken stock
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped, more for garnish
Small, round loaves of bread, one per person
Rinse the yellow split peas under running water, then cover with water and let sit 20 minutes or so. Drain before proceeding with the recipe.
Heat oil in a large pot, add onion and cook until soft and translucent but do not let it brown.
Add garlic and cook a minute or so until fragrant, not allowing it to brown.
Add the carrots and celery and cook a couple of minutes allowing them to soften a bit.
Add the turmeric and stir to blend.
Add the split peas and 6 cups of stock or water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a steady simmer and continue cooking about 30 minutes or until the soup is cooked through. You can add the remaining 2 cups water as needed during the cooking.
When soup is almost ready add the salt and pepper to taste as well as the fresh dill.
When soup is cooked through you can puree it using an immersion blender. I tend to puree it but not completely as I prefer to leave a little texture in this soup.
To make the bread bowl: slice off the top 1/3 off the round loaf. Scoop out the crumb to create a nice deep bowl. Don’t throw away the crumbs. You can chop them in a food processor to make bread crumbs and keep them in a bag in the freezer for another use. Drizzle a little olive oil over the rim and inside the bread bowl. Place in a 350℉ oven for a few minutes just to crisp the bread up a bit. When ready, remove from oven and set on a plate.
To serve: ladle the soup into the bread bowl, garnish with additional dill and drizzle a little olive oil over.