Easy-to-make pea soup
Is there anything better on a cold day, than classic pea soup? Our version gains depth of flavor from mushrooms.
It can get really cold in Israel. In fact, this winter, our hilly regions, which includes Jerusalem, were blanketed in the cold white stuff – snow. Even for those of us living in warmer areas, it's definitely pea soup weather. It's so nice to serve up bowls of the familiar, comforting green soup. And you can dress it up in many ways, if you want. Here are some suggestions.
- Add a few buttery croutons.
- Brown 8 oz. cubed beef in the pot before adding vegetables and the peas. Or slice some sausage into the finished soup and let it heat through. Hot dogs are also good, and children love soup that way.
- Slice a zucchini or two, or half a sweet bell pepper, or both, into the soup when the peas have exploded into mush and the soup’s all done. Cook 10 more minutes and serve.
- Dress it up with paprika, a tiny amount of preserved lemon, a drizzle of olive oil.
- Put a whole, hot, boiled potato in the bowl before you ladle the soup in. Top everything with a tablespoon of sour cream. That’s a good, hot lunch on a cold afternoon.
But I confess: I like pea soup plain, with chunks of good bread and a few slices of cheese on the side. Another good thing about this soup is that it's nice and thick, but has almost no fat.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup dried split peas
- 4 stalks of celery, well washed and trimmed
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced thickly
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
- A handful of dried mushrooms
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2-2 liters water
- Salt and white pepper to taste
Put the fresh, chopped vegetables into the soup pot and fry them slightly. Put the split peas on top. Add the dried mushrooms, the marjoram and the bay leaf. Do not add salt and pepper until the soup is done.
When the vegetables have started giving off a little cooked aroma, add the water. It must more than cover the peas. Put the lid on the pot and let the soup cook for half an hour over a medium-low flame. After that, check every 10 minutes or so to see if the soup isn’t drying out (add a little more water). Stir when you check. Cook the soup for 1 hour.
In the meantime, bake biscuits or cornbread – or boil a few potatoes, one for each bowl. Or toss some large cubes of bread in hot butter until they’re toasty; sprinkle them with grated sharp cheese and you have croutons for the soup.
When the peas have entirely exploded and stirring the pot yields a rich, creamy, soup, it’s done. Add salt and pepper to taste.