Sunday, February 17, 2008
Sunday morning and I hate to admit it - the weatherman was right. The prediction all week has been another storm for Toronto beginning with rain, freezing rain to be followed by snow flurries. This type of forecast is generally a recipe for road disaster when the snow covered frozen rain creates a sea of ice and dangerous driving conditions. It's one of those days that I'm eternally grateful for the foresight to finish all chores including grocery shopping yesterday and the only commitment I have for the day is to my kitchen and perhaps a good movie on the television.
My dear friend who lives in a resort community just north of the city raved about her mother's pea soup. After serving it to her friends for dinner, she's now ready to challenge on Iron Chef with the proviso that all she has to cook is the pea soup and maybe throw in a brisket for good measure. So Pea Soup for the cold Canadian Soul it is. This is a meat lovers version, however, can easily be modified for the vegan palette.
2 cups of split peas (soaked for a couple of hours or overnight)
2-3 lbs short ribs (I used stewing beef)
3 leaks diced
1-2 carrots diced
1 parsnip (divided in 3 to remove from soup later)
2-3 stock celery diced
1 bay leaf
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt, pepper, oregano
1. Soak peas 2 hours or overnight (not necessary but does cut down cooking time and also allows for extra rinsing)
2. Cover short ribs with water, bring to boil and skim surface (you may have to do this several times)
3. Add peas, bring to a boil and turn down to simmer for at least an hour
4. Add leaks, carrots, parsnip, celery and bay leaf
5. Continue to simmer for another hour
6. Add chicken/vegetable stock and begin seasoning.
Note: I found I was adjusting seasoning a few times to get the right layer of flavour. The dried Greek oregano that I used gave it the punch and rounded out the flavour.
7. When the peas are softened, remove parsnip. Some may chose to leave it in the soup - I find it makes the soup a little too sweet.
8. Remove meat from soup and puree the soup with emersion blender. If you like a chunkier soup, you can easily omit this step. Return meat to soup.
9. Simmer soup a while longer - the longer it simmers, the thicker it gets.