Saturday, October 14, 2006

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green

I really like making soup. It's so easy! I've had a ham bone in the freezer forever, so I thought with the chill in the air Split Pea Soup would be a good idea. Did you know that the second week of November is National Split Pea Soup Week? I didn't, but I decided not to wait!

Split Pea Soup is one of those things you either love or your don't. My family loves it. I think it has a lot to do with your first Split Pea experience. Split Pea is sometimes made with smoked meats, which is tasty but can make it very rich and a little overwhelming on your first try. Many restaurants let their soups sit all day, and the result with creamy soups is something your spoon can stand up in. That's a little thick for me. There's a wonderful happy medium between too thin (like regular non-creamy soups) and too thick (it should not make a good spread).

Split pea is also really, really cheap to make. All the expense is in the meat. When we have ham I'll have Hubby carve and not get too picky about cleaning the bone. (I never buy formed and pressed ham. Wait for the holidays, and get whole hams cheap. But that's another blog.) Then the whole bone goes in the freezer until I want it. You can also find ham hocks and salt pork on sale if you watch for them. Salt pork is mostly fat, I'd get the hocks given the option. You do want fat to add flavor, but I love finding ham chunks in my Split Pea Soup.

The biggest issue with Split Pea Soup is scortching it. Stir regularly and once you've brought it to a boil reduce the heat as much as possible. It's quicker than bean soups, because while dried whole peas have to be soaked overnight, split peas do not.

Usually I make my Split Pea on the stove top, but I ran across a crock pot recipe, and since my attention's been wandering due to baby induced sleep deprivation I thought I'd give it a try. It came out wonderful, so here's the recipe. As usual, the title links to the original recipe and what you see here is how I made it:
Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

1 (16 ounces) package split peas
1 meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large potato, diced
8 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine split peas, ham bone or ham hocks, carrot, onion, potato, sausage, celery. water and salt and pepper in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 8 to 10 hours. Remove ham bone; cut meat off bones, discard the bones. Return ham to the soup and serve hot.
I should recommend for recipes. They have an extensive database and I've had really good results with almost every recipe I've found there.

And last, today's Blog title is from a Lewis Carroll poem in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. If I recall the Mock Turtle sings it to Alice and the Gryphon:

Beautiful Soup

BEAUTIFUL Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau--ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau--ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beauti--FUL SOUP!

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