100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Recipes, Soups, Vegan

Day 19 – Split Pea Soup with Crispy Onion Strings

Day19

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

adapted from: The Curvy Carrot

MAKES: 8, 1 cup servings

INGREDIENTS

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

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Soups

Day 16 – Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Day16

Thank you for your patience Herbivores . . .

I was away up North Saturday night at a friend’s bach (hoilday house), for a quick little get away. I came back on Sunday, but ended up having to take a friend to the hospital and spent most of the night in the A&E. I promise normal posting will returning this week.

Even though I have not been posting I have still been cooking for my 100 Days Project, and going away with friends is the perfect opportunity to cook up a big group meal and try out some new recipes on the unsuspecting eaters.

French Onion Soup is winter classic, but it gains much of it’s traditional flavor from the use of beef stock making the soup not very vegetarian friendly.  I have always been curious about what this soup tastes like, especially since it is normally served in a bowl topped with gooey cheese melted across a bread layer. Anything with melted cheese on it usually gets my attention. So . . . when I came across this recipe from the amazing Jerry James Stone that promised to deliver on the flavor by using coffee to help give the soup a hearty earthy flavor vegetarian versions are normally missing, I have to admit I was intrigued.

Needless to say my meat eating friends were dubious when I told them I was making a soup with coffee in it, but all in all this version of French Onion Soup got the meat eaters thumbs up seal of approval.

French Onion Soup

adapted from: Jerry James Stone

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups mushroom stock (1 teaspoon of stock powder per cup of water)
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Bread slices (I used a whole wheat sourdough)
  • Sliced cheese (Emmentaler or Swiss)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, add the thinly sliced onions and some olive oil. You want just enough olive oil to lightly coat them.

Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the onions down, caramelizing them. Only stir them every five minutes. If they begin to burn instead of caramelizing, reduce the heat a bit. Caramelizing onions is really a balancing act between your burner and the quality of your stock pot.

Once the onions have been reduced, add the mushroom stock.

Add the thyme, white wine and sugar. Bring the mixture to a very low simmer and cook covered for about three hours, stirring occasionally.

While that simmers, brew a single cup of your favorite coffee. Add the cup of coffee to the soup in small batches, stir well and taste. You don’t want your soup to taste like coffee, you just want to enhance the flavor. Depending on how strong you brew yours, you might not use a full cup. Then salt and pepper the soup to taste.

For each serving, fill a ramekin or small bowl with a heaping amount of soup and place it in the large baking dish. You’ll need one bread slice for every serving, and place the bread on top of each filled ramekin or small bowl. Top with a slice of cheese or two (you can never have enough melted cheese).

Place the baking dish under the broiler for a few minutes just until cheese is melty and starting to brown.

ENJOY!!

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