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Comments by YACCS
Monday, January 09, 2006

A Long-Promised Food Post: Jen's Pea Soup Recipe

You know you want some right now....

Okay, enough people have asked for this recipe that I am going to spill the beans and share my own family Pea Soup Recipe. This is despite the fact that:

A) I'm still waiting for the spice rub that Gilly promised me since my birthday LAST year (he says it's in the mail) and

B) Lower Manhattanite is still holding out on his N.O.I. Bean Pie recipe and

C) It has meat in it (but will list variations), nonkosher meat at that, so some may object.

Having said all that, this is the soup that our own Gilly, Pea Soup Conneseiur and Critic, has dubbed some of the best he's had (other than the pea soup at Cozy's, which gave me massive food poisoning last August, but I digres....).

Note that this makes a very concentrated soup. If you have a big family it may be worth it using a big pot and doubling.


--Bigass heavy pot such as a Dutch Oven and/or enamelware such as Le Creuset
--Flame diffuser (part of Le Secret)


--1 lb. dried green split peas
--1 high-quality chicken boullion cube (can also be beef, pork, or veggie--I like Knorr; don't use the chalky little foil-wrapped cubes)
--1 packet Goya Sazon sin Annato (ie without annato) (yes, this is the Secret Ingredient, something that my Estonian grandmother hit upon shortly after coming to the States and kept to herself for years)
--1 small white onion, peeled and cut in half
--1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed but not grated (use the flat of a knife)
--1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in half
--salt and pepper to taste (but go REAL easy on the salt initially)
--The HAM. This can be any combo of these: Bone from roasted ham, smoked ham hocks, slices of fresh hock on the bone, chunk of salt pork). I'll get on to other variations further down.
--Lots of water
--Bottle of red wine

Prep Time: Hours and hours--rent a movie

To proceed:

Dump everything EXCEPT RED WINE in a huge pot. Use lots and LOTS of water--you're going to let it boil way down, and add more water, and reboil later. The final product should be totally lump-less but I'll get to that later.

Cover everything in the pot with lots of water and bring to a boil. Cover or partially cover if stuff starts to boil over.

At this point pour yourself a glass of wine.

Keep everything on a slow boil and stir a lot to prevent sticking. Eventually, the carrot, onion, and garlic will liquify and become one with the peas. Keep stirring and refilling your wine as needed. Watching TV while doing this is encouraged--just give it a stir at commercial breaks.

When the meat starts to fall off the bone, uncover partially and start to boil down. If you boil down too fast, don't worry, just add more water--it can always be re-reduced. The goal is to have ALL the meat fall off the bone, for the meat to fall apart, and if you used a whole hambone, for the joints to disconnect and for the cartiledge caps to partially dissolve.

When things get thick, DO put the flame diffuser under the pot. This is how you get really thick, gooey pea soup without scorching or burning. I always use one for my soups. TIME is the other secret ingredient here, as is the multiple reductions of the soup.

When done, still resist the urge to salt or pepper the whole pot. Also, if you can hold off at all, do NOT have any that night. Let it cool and let the whole mess stay overnight in the fridge to get over itself and develop its flavor. You can always salt and pepper individual servings. Texture note: When it comes out of the fridge, it should be thick enough to stand a wooden spoon in.

This freezes tremendously well. A bowl of this and bread, with a side salad or shredded raw veggies on the side is dinner.

NOTE: I usually use 2 kinds of ham--I almost always use a bone from a baked ham and either (in order of preference) fresh hock slices, a piece of smoked hock, or a piece of saltback.

VARIATIONS: Depending on your dietary preferences/religious restrictions, you can also experiment with subs for the ham, with varying results, most of which I haven't tried:

-Smoked turkey legs (but be careful; they frequently taste like nasty liquid smoke--not an encouraged option--this one I DID try and it was not great)
-smoked sausages (ie merguez, etc)
-smoky tempeh, tofu dogs, etc
-good ol hot dogs
-smoked lamb, goat, whatever you got

Happy Cooking!

Oh, and while I have your attention, let me sing the praises of my new toy again:

Yes, I refuse to shut up about my little
rice spaceship. So far, I have cooked all kinds of brown rice variations, including brown rice with barley and sweet corn, brown rice with wild rice, plain ol jasmine rice, brown rice porridge, and brown rice with white rice. I went to a Japanese shop today and got various seed and seaweed blends to sprinkle on rice, pickled plum to cook rice with, and some genuine shortgrain new crop Japanese rice, even though I know white rice isn't as nutritious (gotta have a treat once in a while). If I was vegetarian or vegan, I couldn't imagine NOT having one of these. I realize that St. Alton Brown does not approve of single-use appliances, and neither do I generally (NYC apartments have almost NO counter space ever), this is one I'd make an exception for. It really does make perfect rice, every single time.

Happy and healthy cooking, everyone!

posted by Jenonymous @ 12:00:00 PM

12:00:00 PM

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