Monday, March 31, 2008

recipe: heidi swanson's split-pea soup.

[delicious split-pea soup. note the texture and beautiful color of the paprika!]

i love split-pea soup. it’s one of my favorite soups in the whole world. of course, this wasn’t always the case; when i was younger, i remember seeing the bright-green color of a batch my aunt made and turning up my little nose right then and there. “yuck,” i thought. “why would i want to eat something that looks like swamp?”

of course, when i finally tasted the soup (or, more accurately, was forced to), i changed my tune. and now, years later, split-pea soup is one of my favorite go-to comfort foods. of course, since i’m a vegetarian now, i eat it without the ham hock, so if i buy it from the store, i tend to grab the amy’s organic brand, which is animal product-free. whole foods also makes a tasty version that’s in fairly heavy rotation at their hot bar; i’ll often pick some up if i’m in a hurry or don’t have anything i want to eat at home. it’s great with some crusty hearth bread.

still, like most things in life, i find that homemade split-pea soup is always the best. my mom has a great recipe that she makes in her crock pot, but i don’t have one of those and am too nervous to leave an electrical appliance on all day in my apartment (even though i know that’s the point of a crock pot). so i was thrilled when i found heidi swanson ’s recipe for totally vegan split-pea soup. after seeing her yummy recipe for spring minestrone featured on design*sponge on friday, i popped right over to her web site, browsed through some of her recipes and found this one, which i decided to make last night. i also ordered heidi’s newest cookbook, super natural cooking , and can’t wait until it arrives. for now, in case you’re craving split-pea soup, too, here’s heidi’s super-simple, super-yummy recipe (note that there’s no cream, cheese or anything “bad” in this recipe – perfect for our health-themed week.) i’ve included a few editor’s notes; feel free to regard or disregard at your own discretion. enjoy! (to check out heidi’s site for yourself – and it’s worth it, i promise – click here.)

heidi swanson’s split-pea soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more to taste
2 cups dried split green peas, picked over and rinsed
5 cups water
juice of 1/2 lemon (reserve the zest) a few pinches of smoked paprika (note: i actually used regular)
more olive oil to drizzle

add olive oil to a big pot over medium-high heat. stir in onions and salt and cook until the onions soften, just a minute or two. add the split peas and water. bring to a boil, dial down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through (but still a touch al dente). using a large cup or mug ladle half of the soup into a bowl and set aside. using a hand blender (or regular blender) puree the soup that is still remaining in the pot. stir the reserved (still chunky) soup back into the puree - you should have a soup that is nicely textured. if you need to thin the soup out with more water, do so a bit at a time. stir in the lemon juice and taste. if the soup needs more salt, add more a bit at a time until the flavor of the soup really pops. ladle into bowls or cups, and serve each drizzled with olive oil and topped with a good pinch of smoked paprika and a touch of lemon zest. serves 4 to 6. editor’s note: you will definitely have to add more salt to this recipe; i added half a teaspoon about three times. also, next time i make this recipe, i plan on adding a clove of garlic; the flavor is great as is, but i think the garlic would definitely bump it up a notch. also, don’t forego the paprika – it adds a yummy depth to the soup that you wouldn’t get it if it was absent.

recipe courtesy heidi swanson; photo by moi!

[that’s it for today – see you tomorrow for “stuff i love today” and “going green”! xo.]

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