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Easy Vegetarian Whole Pea Soup Recipe

Soup in my house growing up was like the Holy Grail. We had it every week. It was a part of my West Indian heritage that I cherish to this day. Recently, my wife introduced me to another style of peas. She would curry them and we would eat the pea curry with some homemade chapati. She's a master at it.

Well, it all got me to thinking...

I'd never cooked whole dried peas before. I've always cooked split pea soup. She made it so tasty too... The flavor was second to none! I was going to have to explore and come up with some dishes using these textural, bite sized pearls of savory flavor we call peas.

Here's what I did to bring it all together. We started, of course, with the shortcut techniques we talked about earlier on in the classroom. So as you know, our peas where cooked, chilled and ready to be used in our soup; which, mind you, took all of 10 - 15 minutes to complete. It's a very simple formula:

Formula = sweet-spicy-savory element [caramelized onions] + pungency [sauteed garlic] + sweet acid [pan fried and simmered tomatoes or marinara sauce] + texture [peas, potatoes and dried mushrooms] + liquid [broth, seasoned water, coconut milk, etc.] + time [just enough to bring it all up to a boil and then simmer to marry the flavors]

I didn't have to mention the color elements, not because they weren't important, but because they were already present in the ingredients contained in the formula. keep in mind that measurements aren't necessarily the important thing here, your desired end result is; but for the sake of those who may be more comfortable with ratios I'll list them in a very flexible way.

Equipment
1 kettle or pot to boil and reserve hot water in
1 large stock pot [4 - 6 quart]
1 large skillet [silicon coated non-stick if available]
1 spatula [wooden - preferably]
1 ladle

Ingredients
3 tbsp Olive oil
1 medium to large brown onion [yellow] - diced
natural salt [preferably sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, kosher salt - to taste]
garlic cloves [fresh and mashed] I tend to use at least half of the fist
1 tbsp smoked paprika + 1 tsp chipotle powder + 1 tbsp fennel seeds
4 medium sized tomatoes [quartered] or 20 oz. of marinara sauce
3 - 4 cups of cooked whole peas
2 cubed potatoes [whatever kind you want - I like Yukon gold, red, fingerling]
1/2 cup dried mushrooms [broken up into small pieces]
enough water to cover ingredients by one inch [or more if you want a more brothy soup]

Directions
Step 1. Boil your water and keep on low to maintain the heat for later use.
Step 2. Heat your skillet, add your oil, onions and salt and saute until onions are translucent [caramelized] and add your garlic and 1/2 of your spices. With your spatula, stir your onion garlic mixture and let garlic infuse your oil and slightly soften and transfer to your stock pot. [Turn heat onto low under stock pot to maintain temperature and cut down on finish time.]
Step 3. Add a little more oil to your hot skillet, throw in the rest of your spices, swirl and add your tomatoes or marinara sauce, let fry and then reduce to a steady simmer until the flavors are concentrated to your liking. [You can add more salt if needed.]
Step 4. Add cooked peas to your tomato sauce, stir, heat through and transfer to your stock pot.
Step 5. Add mushrooms and water to stock pot, stir and turn up the heat to bring ingredients to a rapid boil for 2 minutes, cover and reduce temperature to low. Taste, adjust your salt, if necessary, and serve.

You're done! You can serve this over corn chips, along side bruscetta, with some garlic bagel chips or some artisanal crackers, etc. Go for it!

We love this every time we eat it and I hope you will too!

As always It's been a real treat sharing with you these from-the-hip recipes. Until next time...

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