Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eva's Split Pea Soup

Eva’s Split Pea Soup
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2-3 hours
Serves 8

1 lb/450 g split peas (see note*)
1 medium onion, whole but peeled
Water or broth (about 12 cups)
3 stalks of celery with leaves, cut in half
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 small parsnip, peeled and cut in half
1 medium turnip, peeled and quartered
5-6 sprigs fresh dill (see note**)
1 tsp kosher salt
Salt & pepper to taste
Meat options:
1-2 lbs/ ½-1kg flanken (beef short ribs)
2 large beef marrow bones (optional)
1 large chicken, cut in 8 pieces and cleaned

1. If you are using meat, sear it first in a 5 quart Dutch oven with a little oil.

2. Add water or broth. If you are using chicken, rinse, remove excess fat and cut into 8 pieces. Do not sear, just add to liquid (leaving about 3” from the top for vegetables). Add a couple of sprigs of dill and the whole onion to the soup.

3. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer (gentle bubbling) and cover. Occasionally skim the soup of fat and foam, and stir occasionally to loosen meat from bottom of the pot. Skimming usually takes 10-20 minutes until the soup is mostly clear. Discard the cooked dill and onion.

4. Add fresh dill and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 2½ -3 hours.

5. Discard the celery, onion and dill.

Puree carrots, parsnip and turnip in a blender if you have or else just mash them as you would potatoes and return them to the soup. The split peas tend to absorb lots of the liquid, so you might want to add some water before serving. Garnish with fresh dill.

*Eva (my wonderful step-mother) uses Manischewitz or Streit’s soup mixes, but I love yellow split peas which give such a beautiful color to the soup. Green split peas would taste perfectly fine too.

**To increase flavor from fresh dill, rinse and shake off excess water over the sink. Sprinkle 1 tsp kosher salt and rub between hands to release flavor.

This soup freezes extremely well as there are no chunks of vegetables. I use heavy duty zip lock bags to save space. The medium size baggies will hold 1-2 servings so “soup’s on” whenever you’re ready.

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