Happy New Year everyone!
With temps close to freezing, it’s a pretty cold and shocking way to start of the year! Brrr! There’s no better reason to hunker down and stay inside cooking and baking, especially in the company of friends. And, if there’s ever a need for a soup season, now’s the time! It’s not surprising that my friends are asking to make soup and more soup at every cooking date. And good thing for me and my family, we’re soup lovers. Nothing greets my kids after school better than a warm bowl of soup and of course a hug from mom. (Aww. . . corny I know.) Just in the last week I’ve made the following scrumptious soups — potato leek, creamy carrot coconut, an Indian spiced yellow split pea, chicken vegetable from the leftover roast chicken — and today Jackie and I will make another couple of vegetable soups.
Oh let me count the reasons I love making soup with my friends.
1. It’s easy. Get a big batch on the stove and while it simmers there’s lots of talk time. And let’s admit, the conversation at a cooking date is just as important as the food itself!
2. It’s “Souper” satisfying. Ok, I couldn’t resist that one. But really, soup can be a meal in itself.
3. It’s versatile. There are endless types of soup and there’s no need to ever get bored.
4. It’s flexible. No need for a recipe, just throw some veggies, beans, herbs and stock in a pot and boil away.
5. It’s freezer friendly. Make a big batch, throw the rest in the freezer for the next week and you’ve got a quick leftover meal.
I could really go on and on but I’ll stop and give you a soup recipe and then one every day thereafter to guide you through your soup making endeavors. Just make sure to ask a friend to join you — that’s the one key ingredient. I’ll start with a yellow split pea soup since Liz and I just made one yesterday which was a hit with my picky 16 year old. And if you can please him, you can please anyone! Plus, I love yellow split peas since they result in a beautiful color and mellow flavor, much more appealing than green split peas.
Indian Spiced Yellow Split Pea
Makes 3 quarts
1 bag yellow split peas, washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
3 large stalks of celery, diced
5 carrots, peeled and diced
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon (or more) of Garam Masala
2 containers of chicken stock
In a soup pot, heat olive oil. Add the garlic, onions, celery and carrots. Next, sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes. Cook according to the bag of split peas. Add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until the peas are tender. Using an immersion blender, quickly pulse the soup a few times, pureeing some of the soup but leaving some of it chunky. Season with salt, pepper, parsley and Garam masala. If you l ike a thinner soup, add some additional stock but keep in mind that pea soup will thicken after it is cooked and you can always add liquid when reheating it.
Serve with bread or croutons.