Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Simply Simple

I beg your pardon -- what?

Oh. Yes, now that you mention it, that is a photograph of an empty soup mug. And, no, I'm not trying to emulate Andy Warhol. The picture is not meant to be artsy fartsy. It's simply a testament to a really good split pea soup and the compelling need to get it into my whimpering tummy. Which is whimpering no longer. Actually, I think it's purring.

I haven't had split pea soup for, oh, close to a hundred years, give or take a week. I picked up a package of dried split peas at the market something like a month ago on a grungy wet day that made me long for soup. Then I promptly forgot I had it. So there I was, today, looking out at another grungy prospect that was threatening to deteriorate to wet and I said to myself, "Goddess? Don't you think this is the perfect kind of weather for split pea soup?"

My Inner Goddess began to drool, which means, of course, I had to do all the work. Fortunately for me, that turned out to be really easy. One cup of split peas in 4 cups of chicken broth, simmered gently for 30 minutes or so. Easy peasy -- but I didn't stop there. Are you kidding?

Remember that homemade dry soup mix I raved about back in February? Just so you won't have to go look it up, here it is again:


Mix together in a bowl: 2 cups nonfat dry milk, 3/4 cup corn starch, 1/4 cup chicken bullion granules or powder, 2 tablespoons dry onion flakes OR 1 teaspoon each onion powder, basil, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Store in airtight container at room temperature. To use: combine 1/3 cup dry soup mix with 1 1/4 cup water. Mix well in small saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.

I mentioned then that I thought it would lend itself quite nicely to microwave magic -- and it does. One minute on high, whisk furiously, one more minute on high, whisk again. Perfect. Oh -- I just used one cup of water this time, for more thickness.

I spooned the microwave soup into the split pea soup, sprinkled in a healthy pinch of poultry seasoning and then had at it with my trusty immersion blender until the whole thing was pureed to a fine fare thee well. Stirred in a sprinkle of dried onion flakes, turned the burner down to low, put a lid on it and then wandered off to do other stuff until my tummy threatened mutiny.

I was going to fry up a few snippets of bacon bits to add to the mixture but it was too late. One deep inhalation of the soup and there simply wasn't time to waste on inessentials like bacon. And, oh my. Smooth and creamy doesn't begin to describe it. Not to mention flavor. Don't you think split pea soup from scratch tastes much better than canned? And none of those pesky preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients to mess up the good stuff. That's nice.

There are a couple more servings left in the pot. Always good to look forward to. Sometimes, you know, the simple things satisfy like nothing else can. My Inner Goddess agrees.


Ava South said...

The weather here is not cold, but I like soup any time of year. I might try this one. I used to like good old Campbells brand. Home made is bound to be better.

Do you ever cook lentils? I bought a sack of them a few weeks back on a whim and don't quite know of a good recipe. It has to be soup, right? Help me out here, please.


Dee said...

There must be something in the air, Ava. I almost grabbed a bag of lentils when I got the split peas. No, I've never done them but now you've got me curious. I just did a Google and the wonderful Recipezaar site has a whole bunch of lentil recipes. Go here:
Just doing a quick skim of names indicates they aren't limited to soups. Well, there's something else I'm gonna have to put on my grocery list. (grin)

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know (of) it, Dee, but the best pea soup I ever tasted was in "Pea soup Andersen's" down the coast from you at Buellton, and the Santa Ynez valley. Home cooked has to be better of course, if only because then you'd not have to put so much salt in it.

Here we boil ham scraps in with the dried peas but I bet a chicken stock soup would be tasty, too. I shall remember this when the cold weather returns... :-)

Dee said...

I've never been to the place you mentioned, John. Darn. It sounds great.

I find that with using the chicken broth, it isn't necessary to add salt at all. We do the ham with the split peas too but I don't have any on hand at the moment. That's why I was thinking of the bacon. Either one is such a wonderful flavoring addition for the soup.

Anonymous said...

I don't have your dry soup mix made yet. Is it vital for this recipe?

I loved your last two pictures and have swiped them to tube. Is that OK as long as you have credit? and if you answer here I'll miss it. lol

Mage said...

Here, Mr. G can't stand pea soup. I really miss it. To soothe the no pea soup soul, I made Lady Bird Johnson's Pedernales River Chili this week. She suggests serving it with a side of jalapenos, but why not serve a bowl with your lemon peppers. :)

Anonymous said...

Dee lookee here