I realize that this post on peas (my third) may indicate an unhealthy interest in them. But I’m not obsessed, I just like them (a lot!). And when living in Beijing, we never ate frozen peas — they were always old and hard (grands as opposed to petits, I suppose). Anyway, today’s post is about split peas, or, rather, split pea soup. Which brings us to the question: What are split peas?
According to The Penguin Companion to Food, they are simply the dried incarnation of ordinary garden peas, husked and split. While petits pois are very young and tender, split peas are old and tough. They are also cheap, filling and full of protein, stellar qualities that made them a staple of the poor during the Middle Ages. In fact, pease porridge is actually split pea soup — “pease” is the Old English word for pea. Fun facts, huh?
Anyway, on to our recipe. Here are the five ingredients:
- Bag of split peas
- Chicken stock or water
Sort and rinse the peas and chop the onion, celery and carrots. Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil in a large stockpot; when soft, add the carrots and celery until the vegetables are tender and fragrant. Add the peas and six cups of chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower flame and simmer covered for 1 hour or until peas are soft, adding more liquid if needed. Blend to a creamy puree with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
One of the best things about pea soup is that it can feed multitudes. In fact, I have a big vat in my fridge right now that keeps getting thicker and thicker. Every time I heat up a bowl, I thin it out with water. It should feed me for almost a week, perfect for these lazy cooking days while CK is away!