Friday, January 31, 2014

Split Pea Soup with Roasted Vegetables

Split Pea Soup with Roasted Vegetables

Soup can be made two ways. You can throw everything in a kettle and let it simmer for hours with very little supervision or you can finesse it into life in about an hour. This is one of the latter – you’ll be tending this most of the way through as you layer it with good things, some which just might surprise you.

In this recipe the peas take the lead and the other major cast members are all in supporting roles. To bring out their natural sweetness, we roast the vegetables separately from the simmering peas. This makes the carrots and cauliflower tender-crisp and tasting like carrots and cauliflower instead of turning to mush and tasting only of the spices in the soup.

As mentioned above, we’re not simmering a ham bone for hours to make our soup base but we like to include a bit of meat. So we add the ham very nearly at the end of cooking, to keep its flavor layer recognizable without turning the soup into ham with split peas.

Split peas are one of the very few dried legumes that do not require extensive soaking or pre-cooking and so we can cook this soup as a last minute supper. Check the Tips and Trending section at the end of the recipe for suggested co-star substitutions.

Split Pea Soup with Roasted Vegetables
Yield: 8 Servings     Preparation Time: 15 Minutes     Cooking Time: 1 Hour


• 1 Pound Green Split Peas
• 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
• 2 Cups Yellow Onion, cut into ½” dice
• 2 Cups Celery, cut into ¼” dice
• 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
• 8 Cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or low sodium store bought
• ¼ Teaspoon Whole Cloves, crushed fine in mortar and pestle
• 1 Bay Leaf
• ½ Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
• 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
• ½ Teaspoon Prepared Horseradish
• 1 Pound Cauliflower, rinsed, drained and dried
• 1 Pound Large Carrots, peeled
• ¼ Cup Olive Oil
• 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
• ½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• 1½ Pounds Smoked Ham, minced

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Rinse and sort the peas in a colander under cold running water. Let the peas drain.

Step 2. Heat the canola oil in an 8 quart stock pot set over medium-high heat and add the onion and celery. Sweat the vegetables for 2 minutes then stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Step 3. Add the peas to the pot and stir to combine with the vegetables. Add the stock, the crushed cloves, bay leaf and the liquid smoke stirring to make sure none of the peas stick to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Step 4. In a small bowl mix the sour cream and horseradish until smooth then refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut the cauliflower into 1½” florets and cut the carrots into ½” rounds. Put both into a mixing bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, stirring to coat. Add the salt and pepper and stir again then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Step 5. When the peas have simmered for 30 minutes, preheat oven to 400ºF, then put the baking sheet with the cauliflower and carrots into the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Set the roasted vegetables aside.

Step 6. After the peas have simmered for 1 hour, remove the pot from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Use an immersion (stick) blender to process the peas until smooth and creamy. Stir the minced ham into the soup and return to low heat until it begins to simmer. Set several pieces of the roasted cauliflower and carrots aside for garnishing individual soup bowls and stir the rest into the soup. Simmer for 2 minutes to make sure that the ham and vegetables are heated through.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls, float the reserved cauliflower and carrots on the soup and drop a dollop of the sour cream-horseradish mixture on top.

Tips and Trending

~ Measure the cloves after crushing with the mortar and pestle. Using crushed whole cloves instead of the commercially ground version releases more of the essence of the clove making for a more intense spice.

~ Roasting the cauliflower and carrots and then adding them to the soup at the last minute allows each to keep their distinct flavors and fresh-like crunch. If you don’t have both of these on hand, you can substitute a variety of vegetables keeping the same preparation steps as above. Instead of cauliflower, try broccoli or some nice fat asparagus spears and golden beets or parsnips are always easy subs for carrots. And nicely crisped, roasted red potato quarters make a great addition at any time.

~ No ham in the house? No problem! Cook up ½ pound of bacon, thick cut if you have that, until crisp then drain it well. Crumble that into the soup instead of the ham or just sprinkle it on top with the sour cream/horseradish at the end.

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