Mmmm . . . Split Pea Soup . . . one of my favorites . . .
Although this recipe, from The Curvy Carrot, is different because instead of the just using split peas, it has other vegetables like carrot, celery, and potato to round out and add flavor to what can sometimes be a overwhelming pea flavored soup. Also, those crispy onion strings really make the dish adding just that nice bit of crunchy salty texture. A friend who had dinner with me said it was “almost” like having crispy bits of bacon on top, making sure to use finger quotes when saying “almost”.
For the crispy onion strings, I used these little smoked red onions I got from the Matakana Markets on my trip up north over the weekend. I suspect the smokiness of the onions added to “almost” bacon quality of the onion strings. I love escaping from Auckland for the day and heading to any of the great markets in the fringe areas around Auckland. Only about an hour north of Auckland, Matakana is one of my favorite destinations for this, as the market is full of stalls with fun foods. There is usually live music of some sort, and if the weather is nice you can sit by the river and much on the treats you have just purchased.
In 1999 – 2000 I live in Sydney, Australia and worked as a waitress, hostess, bartender, dishwasher and kitchen hand at a cafe/jazz bar called Soup Plus. That Chef’s theory about making soup is that there can never be enough butter. The amount of butter he used to put in the soups was enough to make you second guess eating them. Yet the soups always tasted fantastic having this rich creamy texture that I can only assume came from the overdose of butter. This has stayed with me, and to this day I never make a soup without adding just a little bit of butter. Without butter this soup would be Vegan, but if you are not concerned about such things, trust me . . . add the butter.
Split Pea Soup with Crispy Onion Strings
MAKES: 8, 1 cup servings
For the soup:
- 1 pound/2 cups dried split green peas
- 3 quarts/12 cups water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 stalks celery, diced into 1/2-inch/10mm pieces
- 2 carrots, diced into 1/2-inch/10mm pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 large leek, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 50g/ 3 tablespoons butter, chopped into smaller pieces (this is optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the onion strings:
- 1 small onion, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Smoked sea salt for final garnish, optional
In a large stock pot over high heat, bring the peas and water to a boil. Let the peas boil, uncovered, for two minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. (This will dissolve your peas)
After the hour is over, add the oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, leek, and thyme to the oil and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture to the stock pot followed by the bay leaves and potatoes, and butter (if you are using it) and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened, about 2-3 hours.
Season to taste with salt and pepper