Split Pea Soup: Peas Optional

In an effort to declutter, I sold a number of old books to our local used bookstore, Moe's. In addition to making space for the books I'll actually read, they gave me Moe's money to spend in the store.

I spent a long time browsing (as I do in all stores), and eventually ended up in the cookbook section. (Somehow, I always end up there--like father, like daughter.) As I flipped through the various books, mostly from long disproven fad diets, I saw the yellowed spine of a small, unassuming, paperback book.

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I'd heard the name before, but never bothered to delve deeper. When I opened the pages, I was immediately enchanted--the recipes were all about the vegetables. They were simple, varied, fresh, savory, delicious.. I bought it.

Of course, it has taken me months to actually read its contents, and select a trial recipe: split pea soup. Dan and I made this last night and it was marvelous. The soup is thick, hearty, filling, and flavorful. 

Due to Dan's dislike of mustard and vinegar, I had to alter the recipe somewhat. If you do not have such an aversion to mustard, a squirt of Dijon upon servings does wonders to brighten the flavors and tickle your tongue.

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Split Pea Soup
serves 4 when served with bread
based on Molly Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook

2 qt. slow cooker (or a big pot and lots of time)
sharp knife
frying pan
stirring utensil

1.5c dry green split peas
3.5c water
1 bay leaf
1t salt

2T oil
0.5 onion, minced
3 stalks celery, minced
1 potato, thinly sliced (2-3mm thick)
2c sliced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
0.5c chopped tomatoes
0.25t thyme

0.25c freshly chopped parsley
Dijon mustard, pepper for serving

1. In the slow cooker, combine the split peas, water, bay leaf and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. (If you don't have a slow cooker, simply simmer this, covered, for 3-4 hours.)
2. Saute the onion, celery, potato and carrots in the oil until the potato and carrot begin to brown slightly. Add the garlic and chopped tomatoes; saute for an additional 5 minutes. (This looked good enough to eat plain!!! I may make this for lunch some day.)
3. Add the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker, along with the thyme. Let cook for an additional 15 minute.
4. Just before serving, add the mustard and parsley. Serve with toasted hunks of bread, in warm bowls.
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The ingredient list is long, but you probably have most of the things on the list already. The process couldn't be simpler.

Each serving has just under 400 calories, with around 20g of protein, and less than 10g of fat. (You could cut the fat by using just 1T of oil.)

If you're a carnivore, chorizo would be good in this, as would the more traditional ham. (Great way to use leftover Christmas ham!!!)

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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