Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rainy Weather Comfort Soup

The rains have come. Well, actually, they have been coming, now and then, during October and November, but this time we are having heavy precipitation that is going to continue for days in a row. That's exactly what should happen in late fall here in Northern California. The trees, shrubs and grasses are happy. The new dog, not so much. Perhaps being out in the rain reminds Pi of his time on the streets. Perhaps he has become spoiled by his new 'parents'. For whatever the reason, he really tries to avoid the rain, even going close to the house to take advantage of the eaves when he can.

I enjoy rainy weather as long as I don't have to do a lot of driving in it. I much prefer to stay at home baking bread and simmering soups and stews. One of my favorite rainy weather comfort soups comes from the Classic Comfort Food cookbook. It is Split Pea Soup. It makes enough for a couple of meals and can be doubled if you have a group for lunch or dinner. I usually add a ham hock for flavor but it is delicious without it. Onions and carrots add their own flavor notes and the dried peas cook up nice and tender with lots of simmering. You can take off the pot lid towards the end and simmer enough to make the consistency as thick or thin as you prefer. I like mine on the thick side so I allow an extra 45 minutes to an hour to get there.

I rarely find any debris in the dried split peas, but do check as you are rinsing them. You can jazz this up with herbs, too.

By the way, Classic Comfort Food cookbook, written by yours truly, contains lots of great recipes for fall and winter, including some classic Christmas cookies. It would make a great gift! You can order copies to be mailed directly to your loved one from Blurb, the online publisher. Click HERE. Between now and December 3rd, add the code HOLIDAY25 at checkout and save 25%! There is also a link at the top right of this blog. It is also the link to go directly to the Blurb store. This is not a moneymaker for me, dear reader. I think my profit is something like 50 cents. The reason I'm suggesting it as a gift is that it really will be a great one for friends and family who like sweet and savory classic dishes like macaroni and cheese and fresh coconut cake (both great recipes for this time of year).

Split Pea Soup
from Classic Comfort Food

2 cups dried split peas
8 cups hot water
1-2 lbs. ham bones or hocks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, minced
1 stalk celery and tops, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Pick over and rinse the dried split peas. Combine ingredients. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour and fifteen minutes, or until peas are very soft. Remove ham bones and put soup through food mill or blend. Reheat and serve. Often served with croutons made from stale bread cubes baked until dry. Serves 8.

1 comment :

  1. Next Sister Down4:32 AM

    Ah, split pea, possibly my favorite cold weather soup!

    Last year, while cleaning up after Christmas Even dinner, Big Sis took the rest of the meat off the ham and put the bone in the crockpot to make broth. MWG used the broth to make split pea soup a couple of days later, and it was especially good. I remembered that over the summer when the hostess of a party gave me a ham bone to take home--I made a big batch of broth in the crockpot and put it in the freezer to save for colder weather. When the hurricane was on its way last month, I took the contents of my freezer with me to Mom's and used some of the ham broth to make split pea soup in the crockpot. It was lovely. So if you ever have a ham bone available, make some broth and use it or save it for split pea soup, using the same recipe.