Bamitbach

Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

October 22, 2014
Irene Saiger

8 comments

French Split Pea Soup

photo-7There aren’t many foods that are more comforting than a simple bowl of soup.  It may not elicit the same oohs and aahs that taking a bite of perfectly cooked steak can, or cause you to close your eyes as you might when eating a decadent piece of molten chocolate cake, but unlike its flashier counterparts, it rarely disappoints.  Without much effort, soup is nourishing, warming, and filling.

We just returned from New York where we spent Sukkot,  and during our visit we made soup three times.  The first night of Yontif, we had a Carrot and Pear Bisque, the pear was a great addition to offset the strong flavor of curry.  Later in the week, we made Tortilla Soup, a family and Southern California favorite.  Finally, during the last days of Yontif, a large number of unused onions called for French Onion Soup, a rich and delicious broth that included wine and sherry, topped with Gruyère and was served with a fresh baguette.

During Chol Hamoed we took a trip to Philadelphia to visit my cousin Micheline.  We spent a good part of the day at the National Museum of American Jewish History, but despite the lateness of the hour, when we returned to Micheline’s home we were served a full meal.  It included a split pea soup that was so silky and full of flavor that I was sure it had some secret ingredient.  The recipe was from an old French cookbook that she owned, and as she read it to me, I was surprised at how simple and how few ingredients there actually were.

My youngest son’s girlfriend Anna has an expression that she uses every time we share a meal together.  She exclaims that she is “soooooooo full.”   Her Mom had a lovely interpretation of the expression, saying her daughter is full in the best sense, happy and content.   That’s how I  felt after our trip, and that’s how I felt tonight, after making this soup at the end of a long day.  Happy after I finished the first bowl, and content after I finished the second.

 

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!”
-from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 French Split Pea Soup

1 pound bag of split peas, rinsed

10 cups water

2 Tb olive oil (or butter if you want to make a dairy version)

1 sprig parsley

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

1 medium onion

2 carrots

2 stalks celery

dash of baking soda

2 1/2 tsp salt

Place split peas in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Allow to cook for a few minutes and then drain and wash pot.  Dice carrots, onion and celery and add mirepoix to clean pot along with olive oil or butter.  Saute for several minutes but do not brown.   Add peas, water, salt and cheesecloth containing parsley, thyme and bay leaves.  Add a pinch of baking soda.  Allow to cook, uncovered on a low heat, for about 45 minutes depending or till peas are very tender.  Remove herbs. Puree and serve warm.   If dairy, add a dollop of creme fraiche. Serves 6-8.

Enjoy,

Irene

 

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8 thoughts on “French Split Pea Soup

  1. Hi Irene, I love simple recipes with just the right combination of flavors to make them delicious. I can’t wait to try this recipe once the weather cools down. I enjoy your storytelling as well. Hope all is well with you and your family. Best, Dana (your former neighbor)

  2. Hi, Irene.

    Loved the story as always. Michline’s soup sounds delicious and I am sure it was.

    Congratulations on the buzz feed inclusion. Proud of you.

    Love,
    Your shvester

  3. Dear Irene;

    All of the soups sound delicious, and I would be happy to have all three of the yontif recipies. As for the pea soup, there were two things which puzzled me.

    1 What is mirepoix?

    2 Where did the cheesecloth come from with respect to the parsley, and where does it go?

    Thanks, Jeff

    • Hi Jeff,
      I apologize. Mirepoix is a French term which is used for the combination of diced celery, onions and carrots. I just cut a small piece of cheesecloth and put the herbs and bay leaves inside and tied it all up in a bundle and dropped it into the soup, it is easier to fish out that way, before you blend. My cousin used kitchen twine and just tied all the herbs together.

      I will get you the other recipes too!

      Thanks for asking!! Always nice to hear from you.

      Irene

  4. Delish! Would like the other soup recipes too!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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