Photo: ©Gaetan Lee
A Robust, Hunger-busting Winter Favorite
Gluten-free and vegan, no compromises required
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST JOANNA HELLER
This season is a great time for soup in general and pea soup is one of my all time favorites. It is easy, satisfying and filling and peas are extremely nutritious with plenty of fiber. This recipe is vegan and is also really helpful in the journey back from holiday splurges to a healthy and healthful satiety.
Dried split peas are one of those always on the shelf, ready when you are foods and they need no special preparation. Just a quick rinse to make sure there are no foreign particles present.
I use a wide three quart slant sided saucepan with a glass cover for soups and stews. The relatively shallow wide pan is easier to stir and to watch for sticking or burning. I love the glass cover for easy checking on progress and preventing boil over.
Vegan Pea Soup
2 cups split peas, rinsed
6 cups water
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
a few cloves of garlic, minced, sliced or whole
1-2 medium carrots, sliced or chunked
1 bay leaf
a few black peppercorns (not too few! I use probably 6 or so)
sea salt to taste
Start the peas cooking Put the water and rinsed peas, bay leaf and peppercorns into the pot over a medium to high heat and let them start their work while you gather and cut up the carrots, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat.
Let the peas cook for about a half hour.
Add the onion, carrot, and garlic and let the mix do its magic. After about fifteen or twenty minutes, and then periodically, stir and check for sticking. Cook until the peas and water have transformed themselves into a mostly unified entity and the carrots are soft. Note: I always let the cooking accomplish this rather than blending mechanically because I like having pieces of onion, carrot, garlic and peppercorns remain identifiable.
Towards the end check for salt. This soup has much flavor and sometimes I don’t add salt at all.
You cannot over cook this soup but you can burn it … so keep a low heat and don’t forget to stir occasionally. You can add water for a thinner soup. The more you reheat leftovers, the better it gets.
I don’t mind chewing the peppercorns or picking them out when I eat, but if you will not like a peppercorn encounter you can either substitute cracked pepper or put the whole peppercorns into a cheesecloth bag and remove them after cooking.
Finish As soon as the peas, carrots and onion are soft enough to eat, this is a good soup. At some point the peas will become totally creamy. Delicious at any stage. The bay leaf now is hidden somewhere. When you notice it, discard it.
Tip: I love having a large quantity of this soup on hand for quick meals and you can freeze a quantity for later use. I use organic ingredients as much as I can.
- Curry powder to taste
- marjoram or other beloved herb
- If you are a meat lover, this is a good place for any kind of soup meat – beef, ham, sausage, etc. My father, who was the pea soup maker in my family, used to slice a few frankfurters into the soup.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.