Friday, February 25, 2011

Healthy Dinners: Mama's Split Pea Soup

Sigh, it seems we're in for another cold snap, I take it.  The weather doesn't look too promising for the weekend.  So, though I know we might all be sick of soups, I've got another one.  Soup is my 'go to' for weather that just seems unending and dreary.  I was so happy with those few 'warm-ish' days we had!  We went for family walks, the kids got to play outside and I even ventured out of the house!  (For those who don't know me, I honestly find any excuse I can to stay inside during cold weather. ANY. EXCUSE.) 

This soup is a specialty of my mama's.  I think she's the one who really got me on the soup kick, most Sundays she would make this HUGE batch of soup for us to have for quick lunches or suppers throughout the week.  With that being said, her specialty is most definitely the kinds of soups that get better with time.  Split pea just happens to be one of those soups.

Since we are still on our heart healthy kick, let me just say that dried legumes are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and iron.  They also are incredibly budget friendly!  A bag of dried split peas can cost less than a dollar and make 12 servings!  That sort of math makes me rather happy indeed.  Since the soup is low in fat, high in  fiber, incredibly filling and gets better with time, I consider it a win.  Especially if we are bound to have yet more cold weather.  (Also great- this recipe is vegetarian!)

Split Pea Soup

16 oz of dried split peas (soak overnight according to the directions on the package before cooking this)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 chopped stalks of celery
2 diced carrots (I only wash my carrots, I don't peel them for soups)
2 diced turnips
8 cups of water or vegetable stock
1 tsp dried or fresh thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Parsley
1 cup of white cooking wine
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbs olive oil

1.  Saute vegetables in olive oil until tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Keep heat low enough so nothing scorches but softens nicely.  Also, saute this in your soup or stock pan.
2.  Add spices to sauteed vegetables and cook gently for another 2 minutes.  Then add broth, wine and peas.
3.  Bring to a boil, then cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
4.Lower heat enough to keep soup at a simmer fir 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  The peas should break down some, and you can use a masher to help that out.  Fantastic with a chunk of whole grain bread and the family. :)

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