The calm at the center of a pearl

July 5, 2007

Yellow split-pea soup

Filed under: Food — kyraninse @ 3:58 am

What I adore most about restaurants, asides from the lovely fact that I can gorge and not have to do dishes afterwards, is that I can try foods that I usually wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, especially if people are willing to share.

Which brings me to the notion that one should never eat out with people who don’t like to share, but that’s another post.

At any rate, I first tried yellow split pea soup when I was vacationing in Montreal with my friends. Mark had found a most charming restaurant, La Raclette, and they had a table d’hôte which was spectacular. The thing was, they had an option for either tomato juice or the soup du jour; as I do not like tomato juice in the slightest, I figured that even if they had split-pea soup, the worst case scenario would involve pinching my nose and gulping it down whereas with tomato juice I would definitely have to gulp it down. I was very pleasantly surprised when I not only liked it, but enjoyed it so much that I took Karl’s bowl and savoured every last drop of that as well. So, once I got home, nothing would do but I had to try to make some of my own. This doesn’t really come that close, but it’s not too far either. The original had a slight smoky graininess to it that I have yet to be able to duplicate, but hopefully, that will come in time.

Yellow split pea soup that will do, for now

4 Tbsp bacon grease (or butter)
1 onion
1 head garlic ( less if you prefer, but I do suscribe to the idea that you can really never have too much cooked garlic, raw is another matter entirely)
4 cups yellow split-peas
10 cups water, more or less
Tomato paste, to taste

Dice the onion and sauté it with the garlic, which can either be coarsely chopped or simply smushed with the side of the knife. After the onion has browned slightly, toss in the peas and the 6 cups water. Leave alone for about an hour or so on a low heat setting. An hour should be about enough if you want to put it through the blender, but it needs about 3 to 4 hours at least if you want it to be fall-apart mushy. I can’t decide yet if it needs the tomato paste or not, I think it’s almost equally good either way, but La Raclette did have a hint of it, so. *shrug*

Variations include making this with stock, preferably beef stock, I’d imagine, adding celery, and tossing in chunks of ham. I’ll try those some other time and see what happens.


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