I have no camera. I left it at my parents’ house over Christmas. I’m goin’ crazy without it. I like to take pictures of my everyday world and think up blog topics to match. Pretty pictures give a blog post a little bit of POP! that makes it more special. Today, unfortunately, we will just have to wing-it without visuals.
Luckily, I have a Soup of the Week to share with you. I call it Peas Porridge Hot after the nursery rhyme. Now, I know some of you absolutely hate pea soup. If so, this recipe is probably not for you. However, for those of you who just sorta don’t like pea soup, you may find this “pottage” not only tolerable, but possibly even enjoyable.
My husband tells a story about being made to eat pea soup as a child. Apparently neither he nor his two siblings ever did finish up their bowls despite much parental pressure. He was skeptical, to say the least, when I first tried this recipe, but to his surprise, he liked it!
There are two major differences between this pea soup and regular pea soup:
First, the peas are yellow instead of green. Now, there is probably no real difference in taste between the two, but color plays a big part in palatability. Small children (and some grownups) are suspicious of green food, Dr. Seuss and his green eggs aside. Here, though, we have yummy pea taste in a sunny yellow color. Color-cue alone may account for why my husband didn’t turn puce himself when he looked at his dinner the first time I served this thick, homemade bowl of deliciousness.
Second, I don’t use ham in the soup. Or bacon. Or any other pork-flavored product that is usually associated with pea soup. Without the smoky flavor of pig, the soup takes on a more delicate, carroty-onion character that no one would associate with bad childhood experiences at the table. It is even low-fat!
So, what makes it hot, you ask? Well, a thick soup like this tastes better served steaming from the pot. Eating it lukewarm is about as enjoyable as eating cold oatmeal. Also, I like to sprinkle some cayenne pepper (preferably a sea vegetable/cayenne mix) on top before I serve it or dice up a chili pepper to cook along with the onions and carrots and celery and dried peas in the chicken stock.
Peas Porridge Hot makes a warming, wonderful meal on a cold winter’s night. Try it with thick slices of homemade bread and warm apple crisp for dessert. I think you may be pleasurably surprised!
Peas Porridge Hot
1 1b. of dried split yellow peas
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 large onion, quartered
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
chopped hot pepper to taste (optional)
8 cups of water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Organic Kelp with Cayenne granules (optional)
Put peas on a board or in a bowl and pick out anything that doesn’t belong. Rinse peas in a colander or put in bowl with water and swirl around, then drain.
In a large saucepan or pot, mix all the ingredients EXCEPT SALT, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. (I believe that salt makes the peas tough, so we only add it at the end of the cooking period.)
Reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour and fifteen minutes, stirring occassionally.
Remove from heat. Mash everything with a potato masher to desired consistency or for a less-textured soup, put through a food processor. Add salt. Serve in soup bowls. Sprinkle individually with sea veg/cayenne granules if desired.
This soup will thicken up considerably in the ‘fridge. You may want to add more water before heating leftovers. It really is like a porridge rather than a soup at this stage!
If you are very adventurous, you may want to add chopped dulse or some large bits of kelp to the bottom of the pot when you begin cooking. When the soup is ready, you can pull the kelp out with some tongs, chop it up and return it to the pot for added color and nutrients.
Sea veggies are full of minerals and, when cooked in a soup, don’t change the flavor in any noticeable way. It’s just a little Outside the Box addition for extra nutrition. (Dr. Seuss, I’m not!)
If you try this recipe, let me know how it turned out for you.