Sometimes, when I mention split pea soup, people are like, "eww. I hate peas." That's why I want you to know that split pea soup doesn't taste like I mashed up a can of peas! Actually, split peas are an entirely different species of pea, which accounts for the different taste and method of preparation. Split peas are always harvested, dried and well, split, and are more like lentils in texture and preparation. They have a neutral flavor and take on spices well. They are an excellent source of molybdenum (which breaks down sulfite toxins and may help prevent cavities), a very good source of dietary fiber, and a good source of protein, manganese, folate, vitamin B1, potassium, and phosphorus (which also may prevent cavities, so get your phosphorus!).
Tryptophan is the chemical that gives you that sleepy, feel good feeling after eating. Source.
Many Indian dishes are made with green or yellow split peas (dals), but this dish is more of an American-style stew made with local vegetables and easy-to-find spices (minus the chunks of pig). I was reading through an old cookbook one day when I got this soup idea. The cookbook is most certainly NOT vegan, but there are some excellent recipes in there (as well as some KILLER ol' fashioned, homecookin', type desserts) that I want to veganize and put in my belly (we're talking wild berry buckle with vanilla cream sauce here).
Anywho, this stew is excellent when served with some homemade biscuits or crusty bread. If you haven't had split peas before, you should definitely give this recipe a try!! Oh, and you'll have plenty of leftovers, so feel free to halve it.
Some people say you don't have to soak your peas, but I always do. I found that if you don't soak them beforehand the texture is a little more toothy. Soaking softens them up a little more. It's up to you, though. I personally do a quick soak before cooking (bring the peas to a boil, let boil a couple of minutes, then turn off the heat, and let soak in the hot water at least an hour).
Split Pea and Vegetable Stew:
1 lb. dried green or yellow split peas
2 qts. water (8 cups)
1 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 1/2 c. carrots, chopped
1 1/2 c. celery, chopped
2 medium potatoes, diced
Celery leaves, chopped (all the good-looking ones on the celery stalks)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1. Rinse the dried peas, drain, and sort in order to remove any stones or debris. Place into a large soup pot, cover with water, add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. If you use yellow peas, remove any of the shells that float to the top. Also remove any foam (contains impurities...?).
2. Meanwhile, saute the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in olive oil until softened and fragrant, about five minutes.
3. Add the sauted veggies, diced potato, marjoram, parsley, the celery tops, and the black pepper to the pot. Let simmer for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the peas are soft. Add some additional water if necessary before adding the vegetables to make sure there is enough to cook the potatoes and stuff. Salt to taste before serving. Enjoy!
To end my post, I present to you a glorious photo on which to feast your eyes (that's a joke... pea soup never looks appetizing!):