Well, we are back to the rain and drizzle . . . all the sunshine and warm temperatures of the past week having desserted us. It sure was nice while it lasted, but this early in the year, one really can't expect anything else!
We got to work doing some spring cleaning this morning, starting off in the kitchen. It's amazing how cluttered the cupboards got over the winter. It doesn't seem to matter how many times you tell yourself you are going to try hard to put things back in the same place after you use them . . . it never really seems to happen!
I was also amazed at how much out of date things there were stogged in the back of the larder cupboard . . . a sure sign that I've been overbuying and something I'll have to rectify!
In any case, we found ourselves in the mood for a hearty and filling soup when it came to lunch, and I just happened to have a bag of green split peas that needed using up asap!
Oh, I do love a good pea soup! It may not be very pretty to look at, but it tastes wonderful. Todd . . . he loves his with bread rolls and butter, but me . . . I like mine with crisp crackers. (I like the Italian ones. They are the closest thing to the ones from back home.)
Did you know it is considered uncouth to crumble your crackers into your soup? well shut my mouth! I discovered that the other night as I was reading a book on table ettiquette . . . and whilst I would never do it in front of the Queen . . . I do think it's quite, quite acceptable to do it in front of Todd!
*Thick Pea Soup*
You can sprinkle the top of this delicious soup with some crisp croutons just before serving, or do like me and just crumble on soda crackers!
3 1/2 pints of ham stock (7 cups)
12 ounces of dried split peas (yellow or green) (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 ounces butter (1/4 cup)
4 thick slices of smoked back bacon, diced
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 small potato, peeled and diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the stock into a large saucepan. Bring just to the simmer and then add the split peas. Cover and simmer very gently for 30 minutes.
While the peas are cooking melt 1/2 of the butter in a small skillet. Add the vegetables and bacon. Cook and stir over medium heat, until softened and golden. Add to the simmering split peas. Season lightly with some salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently for a further 45 to 50 minutes. Remove about 1 cup of the soup and set aside. Use a stick blender to puree the remaining soup, or pass through a seive, or use a jug blender. Return to the saucepan and stir the reserved 1 cup of soup back into it. Taste and adjust seasoning. You may thin it out with an additional amount of hot stock if you think it is too thick.
Serve hot, ladled into heated bowls, dropping a bit of the remaining butter on top of each serving, along with a grinding of pepper and a few flakes of sea salt, if you wish.