Saturday, March 17, 2018

Split Pea Soup (Almost Andersen's Famous Pea Soup)

Split Pea Soup was introduced to me at Pea Soup Andersen's Restaurant near Solvang, California many years ago by dear friends P & C. I have been an avid fan ever since. Many were the bowls of delicious, naturally vegan, and gluten free all-you-can-eat soup that we have happily eaten then and in subsequent visits there and at their other locations.

We loved the soup so much, I recreated the recipe at home based on taste and was delighted with the results. Not only family members but lots of friends too have been the happy recipients of this amazing soup. Until recently I did not know that Andersen's has their famous recipe printed on the bags of split peas they sell and was quite happy to see that my recipe is very close!

Although I love the smooth and creamy soup just fine, my homemade version includes a few more ingredients like barley, turmeric and ginger for their health benefits as well as lovely taste and texture. This recipe is almost fat free; I add a little oil to the soup pot just to start the veggies from sticking to the pot - the oil maybe omitted if desired. It is Vegan and Gluten Free if barley is omitted; quinoa, millet, or another gluten free grain may be substituted if desired for a gluten free soup.

Notes:

I prefer to cook the peas separately to ensure they cook well; this also prevents the veggies from cooking too long.

Vegetable broth maybe used instead of  water to bring the soup to desired consistency.

The soup maybe passed through a strainer or sieve to get a smooth soup like the famous soup; or processed using a regular or immersion blender. I don't as the soup is quite creamy and I like a bit of texture.

Cool and store leftover soup in the fridge for 3-5 days; for longer storage, this soup freezes well. When reheating, a small amount of water or broth may be needed to thin the soup.

8-10 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups green split peas
1/2 cup Barley (optional)
1 tsp Oil (optional)
1 Onion, peeled and chopped
4 ribs Celery, chopped
1 large Carrot, chopped
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 clove Garlic, minced
3-5 sprigs Fresh Thyme  Or 1 tsp dried
2 Bay Leaves
1-3 tsp freshly grated Ginger (optional)
Pinch or two cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2-1 tsp freshly ground Pepper, or to taste

METHOD:

Sort, wash and soak the split peas and barley if using in plenty of water for 2 hours. Split peas and barley may be cooked without soaking also; soaking shortens cooking time.

Drain the soaked split peas and barley, add fresh water to cover, and cook conventionally or using a pressure cooker until soft. If made ahead, cool, and refrigerate until needed.

Heat a large soup pot with the oil; swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

Add onion, celery, and carrot with a pinch of salt and the turmeric. 

Cook covered over low heat, stirring often until the onion mixture begins to turn golden and caramelized; add a sprinkle or two of water if needed to keep the veggies from burning. 

Stir in the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, ginger if using, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about a minute.

Tip in the cooked split peas and barley; add enough boiling water to get the right consistency.

Simmer the soup for about 10-15 minutes stirring often; stirring is essential as after peas are added, the soup tends to settle to the bottom of the pot and burn.

Let rest for 10 minutes; taste and adjust the seasonings.

Serve hot.

Enjoy!!

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