There are two kinds of pea soup. The smooth, puree kind, that you find at Straub’s deli bar or in a Campbell’s soup can. Then there’s the chunky, robust variety dished up by Ina Garten, that includes hefty bits of carrot, ham and even potatoes. Since I’m a pea soup person, I like them both. But this week I decided to go with my old recipe that’s a cross between Ina’s and one I found on the back of a split pea package 40 years ago.
Cooking Times May Vary
I found it strange that the peas I used recently had no recipe printed on the package. It didn’t even have accurate instructions for making soup. I usually soak split peas overnight or, at least, boil them and a while before adding the other ingredients. But the package said no need; they’d cook in 60-90 minutes. Wrong! I cooked those rascals 4 hours before they ever became mushy!
I later read the lengthy cooking times occur when your dried peas are old. Well, they shouldn’t have been. I had just made a special trip to fetch them from the grocery shelf. No matter. All’s well that end with a delicious bowl of superb soup. What’s more, having cooked all that time they lent a homey aroma to my entire condo unit.
From Peasants to Palaces
It’s worth noting that this old legume has some impressive creds. The traditional peasant food was sold in the street stall of ancient Athens and Rome. Later it was refined enough to be served to Louis XIV of France, whose court at Saint Germain gave it’s name to the unscaled, fresh pea version: Potage Saint-Germain.
Dried peas inspired some culinary lyrics, too, and were immortalized in the Mother Goose rhyme: “Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot nine days old. Some like ’em hot; some like ’em cold. Some like ’em in the pot nine days old.”
Be a Souper-Hero
Even one of my picky soup eaters (whose-name-will-not-be-mentioned-but-you-know-who-you-are) yummied up a bowl. As it turned out, the farm was a virtual soup kitchen with the inclusion of two other soups as well. Robin made lentil with spinach and carrots and a venison chili.
Warming up a cozy bowl of soup for our late evening arrival at the farm made for a easy, satisfying meal. Warm soup; sweet dreams.