I've been trying to eat less meat. My mother is a strict vegetarian and she's constantly harping on me about how bad meat is for me. I love meat too much to ever consider giving it up and converting to vegetarianism. But while I hate to admit it, I do think my mom has a point about getting protein from soy, beans, chickpeas and lentils instead. So a good compromise for me is to avoid eating meat during lunch and saving my carnivorous cravings for nighttime. Since I stick to soups and salads for lunch, it's easy to throw in some beans or lentils when making it for the week. I started liking split pea soup because my favorite soup shop, Hale & Hearty, makes a really good yellow and green version with bacon. I make mine with just yellow split peas and a mix of herbs that bring out a unique flavor.
I like to use dried herbs in long-cooking soups. I save fresh herbs for things like a tomato-basil mozzarella salad. The dried herbs pack in a lot of flavor that get released as they simmer in the rich broth. The tarragon and sage in the mix of herbs give off hints of licorice and warmth. This recipes makes 4 servings.
1 cup of dried yellow split peas
5 cups of organic chicken broth
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 red onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon of each: thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon and sage
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Heat up the olive oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot. Sautee the garlic and onion for 5 minutes until translucent and softened. Add in the celery and cook for another 2-3 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the peas, chicken broth and herbs and season again with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered, cooking for 30-35 minutes until peas are tender.
I like my soup to be a little creamy but still have texture. So I take about two cups of the finished soup and puree in a blender. You may need to add a little water to get the blending motor running as the pea soup is quite thick. Return the puree back to the soup pot and stir until it's thoroughly combined. The soup is ready to eat and you can freeze in batches once it has cooled. The soup freezes beautifully and you can keep it for up to 2 months in the freezer.