Monday, March 12, 2012

Split Pea Soup with Hungarian Paprika & Lemon

Thanks to the vagaries of San Francisco weather- often foggy in summer and rainy in winter- a steaming bowl of rustic, flavorful soup is welcome here almost year round. With a supply of dried split peas in the pantry this simple soup garnished with Hungarian paprika and lemon juice can be whipped up for a warming one- pot meal whenever the weather turns chilly.

Split peas are a high protein, low fat, quick cooking legume which require no soaking. Before cooking, place peas in a colander and pick over to remove any pebbles which may have been harvested along with the peas. Rinse peas briefly in fresh water and drain. Two cups of dried split peas cooked with a few aromatic vegetables will yield four or five servings of soup.

Split Pea Soup with Hungarian Paprika & Lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup sliced leek or onion
1 rib celery, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 medium potato, cubed
2 cups dried split peas
5 cups fresh water
1 tablespoon white miso paste (or more to taste)
juice of 1 lemon as garnish
Hungarian paprika as garnish

In a soup pot heat olive oil and saute leek and celery for three or four minutes until fragrant. Add carrot, parsley and potato and continue to saute another two or three minutes. Add split peas and water, stir, cover pot and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and cook until split peas are tender, about 25 or 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent peas from sticking to bottom of the pot. If necessary, add a bit more water. When peas are tender, remove about a cup of soup and place in a bowl with the miso. Stir soup and miso until fairly smooth, then return mixture to the pot. Taste and add more miso if needed. Serve soup with a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, a dusting of good quality Hungarian paprika and a sprinkling of chopped parsley leaves.

Note: For a velvety smooth soup, process in blender before serving. Allow soup to cool a bit before blending. Extra soup will keep well for several days in fridge.

Pease Porridge Nursery Rhyme:

"Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
some like it in the pot, nine days old."

British nursery rhyme, dated by some sources circa 17th century.