Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Veggies
Let’s face it – nothing beats homemade chicken stock to build other soups with. When there’s a bit leftover in the fridge, excellent! But I never have a quart tucked away in my freezer. It’s just too delicious! I’d make some fine egg noodles and heat it up in my soup, if nothing else.
Processed foods with gobs of salt and who-knows-what-kind of preservatives that our bodies don’t have a clue what to do with are barred from this home but there are a few things that make the cut. One is a soup base called Better Than Bouillon that has a jam-like consistency with a short list of ingredients and without a truckload of salt. I use a much smaller amount than recommended to further reduce the salt. If we need more, then we can add it. Take back the control!
Another option are better soups sold in cardboard containers. One brand I really like is Imagine. It’s fat-free, has no MSG (Y-U-C-K), the list of ingredients is recognizable, and though there’s salt, again, not as much as others. Also, I NEVER use full-strength broth but do a 1-part broth to 2-parts water ratio (1:2) or a 1-part broth to 3-parts water ratio (1:3 broth to water). Hey, where did you go? Have I lost you? Come back – math is highly useful in the kitchen.
I love to use fresh herbs when making soups of all kinds. I usually toss them in whole but then find myself taking forever to fish them out of the pot. Duh. It seems I’ve forgotten two important words involving one important item that should have a home in every kitchen. Are you ready? Bouquet garni.
And for that you need to have kitchen twine. For me, Italian parsley is a mainstay. Add to that some dill, thyme, cilantro, oregano or whatever your soup (or stew) wants. Take your little flavor bundle of herbs AKA bouquet garni. Cut a section of twine long enough to tie it up with a little bit left to hang over the pot so that you can fish it out when your soup is done (but not so long that it catches fire – no, no no -NOT good).
(sung to the music of “In The Air Tonight”; bb’s apologies to Phil Collins)
When your soup is done, use a big spoon to squeeze every bit of goodness out of the bundle and toss. Voila! Pat yourself on the back for being highly efficient. Sing a happy tune to celebrate.
Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Veggies
Ingredients:8 c. water 1 c. dried yellow split-peas 1 large onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 3 medium carrots (or 2 large), cut in half length-wise and sliced in half rounds 1/2 small bunch Italian parsley 4 sprigs fresh thyme 2 bay leaves 1 t. Better Than Bouillon (or equivalent amount of a healthier soup base) 2 small white potatoes (or 1 medium), diced 1 zucchini or Mexican squash, diced 1/4 c. small pasta, like orzo salt & pepper to taste
Prepare bouquet garni by tying parsley and thyme together in a little bundle with kitchen twine – you’ll place the bouquet garni in the pot after the initial veggies are in so that it floats on top with a small amount of excess string hanging outside of pot for easy removal later.
Bring water up to a boil with next eight ingredients (split peas to bay leaves and bouquet garni last).
Lower to simmer. Skim soup. Add bouillon. Cover (with lid slightly askew) and cook for 1 hour.
Add potatoes and stir. Continue cooking for 1/2 hour. Remove bouquet garni and squeeze it with a spoon against the side of the pot to keep every bit of broth in your pot (and not on your counter/floor/shirt).
Add squash and pasta and cook for 10-15 more minutes until pasta and squash are tender. Season with salt & pepper. Remove bay leaves before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley, chopped chives, or the green part of a green onion.
Omit the bouillon and use 2 cups broth and 6 cups of water. Add more water if needed.
Optional: Substitute a handful of cut-up green beans for the squash. Other veggie possibilities: 1 diced turnip added at the start; 1 cup of chopped spinach or 1 cup of roughly chopped kale (this powerhouse of a veggie is insanely popular!) at the finish.
Pasta Notes: Any short pasta works – orzo, riso, farfalline (baby bow ties) or angel-hair pasta, broken up.
Yellow Split-Pea Soup Revisited for Food Bloggers Los Angeles Spotlight on SOUPS
I brought this soup with turnips and kale added to the mix… 8 veggies in all!
Fresh Italian parsley, fresh thyme and a bay leaf were added and to round out the flavor, a few shakes of cumin.