RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

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RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:30 pm

I know, I know, all you carnivores are going to object mightily, but here's the truth: as good as pea soups made with ham and sausage are, peas all by themselves have a brilliant, sweet and earthy flavor and you mask that when you add meat. All dried peas need to be the most elegant of dried legume purees is a few simple ingredients to intensify the pea flavor. For a wine match, I highly recommend sherry to take the experience to a whole 'nother level.

This is all it takes:

1 lb dried peas
3.5 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2-3 sprigs fresh parlsey
1 tsp dried basil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
A couple cranks of black pepper
(add 1 tsp salt if the chicken broth is unsalted)

That's it. Put the peas in a pan, make sure there are no rocks. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for one hour. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.

Put two ladlefuls into a soup mug, pour the sherry, and go curl up on the couch. You'll feel SO loved.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:53 pm

Thanks so much, Jenise. Pea soup and Bob Ross are a marriage made in heaven.

I'll make this for lunch today. :-)
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:06 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Thanks so much, Jenise. Pea soup and Bob Ross are a marriage made in heaven.

I'll make this for lunch today. :-)


That's just what I did yesterday! Let me know how you like it.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:46 pm

I have a Brinkman smoker that uses a water pan, that also catches drippings. After smoking a turkey, I use this water, plus some of the leftover turkey to make split pea soup. I also like onions, carrots and celery, but I think your simpler version would work better as a soup course in a meal, as opposed to "The" meal. I may try it.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:50 pm

Howie, your carnivore bias is showing! For you, my puristic, pea-lover's version wouldn't be a complete meal without meat. For me, and what I was trying to make the case for, is that it's just as complete without (though yes, it's not vegetarian, I use chicken broth).
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:57 pm

You know, Jenise, that's very funny.

My pea bias is showing -- I was just thinking about what I could leave out of your recipe. :-)

Certainly the sherry at midday.

Regards, Bob
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:18 pm

Ha! You can leave out nothing. The parsley intensifies the pea flavor, where the amount of garlic (I only use clove) and basil are minimalist. You don't taste them, but a side by side comparison with a soup made without them tastes less complex. I know--that's how I built my recipe. :)
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby ChefCarey » Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:02 pm

Jenise wrote:Ha! You can leave out nothing. The parsley intensifies the pea flavor, where the amount of garlic (I only use clove) and basil are minimalist. You don't taste them, but a side by side comparison with a soup made without them tastes less complex. I know--that's how I built my recipe. :)


You've inspired me to take a pea, Jenise.

Bear in mind, my recipe was built over years and with a mind to what the people in my restaurants most responded to.

Most cannot wax ecstatic or lead cheers about the lowly pea. They need some inspiration.

Which is why I include mirepoix, garlic, bacon, ham, sausage, parsley, and Romaine in my split pea soup.

I think in this instance, you are peaing into the wind.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:42 pm

Most cannot wax ecstatic or lead cheers about the lowly pea. They need some inspiration.


Then I must cop a plea: guilty! I adore the earthy flavor of peas and could happily eat them with nothing but a little salt.

Which is why I include mirepoix, garlic, bacon, ham, sausage, parsley, and Romaine in my split pea soup.

I think in this instance, you are peaing into the wind.


So you will not try to appease me? Well then, I will admit that I would like your adorned peas very much. But I have had some pea soups wherein the peas were so overwelmed by other ingredients that the pea itself was hardly more than texture. It was just one such potage to which the saboteur had added about four giant kielbasa, that caused me to cook a pot of just plain salted peas, to deconstruct the soup, and build a meatless version. This recipe is the result of that exercise--I was in fact surprised how little was required to reach a state of elegance.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby ChefCarey » Mon Oct 16, 2006 5:16 pm

Howie Hart wrote:I have a Brinkman smoker that uses a water pan, that also catches drippings. After smoking a turkey, I use this water, plus some of the leftover turkey to make split pea soup. I also like onions, carrots and celery, but I think your simpler version would work better as a soup course in a meal, as opposed to "The" meal. I may try it.


Hey, I have a Brinkman. too! I have a drawing of mine in the book.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby ChefCarey » Mon Oct 16, 2006 5:21 pm

So you will not try to appease me? Well then, I will admit that I would like your adorned peas very much. But I have had some pea soups wherein the peas were so overwelmed by other ingredients that the pea itself was hardly more than texture. It was just one such potage to which the saboteur had added about four giant kielbasa
, that caused me to cook a pot of just plain salted peas, to deconstruct the soup, and build a meatless version. This recipe is the result of that exercise--I was in fact surprised how little was required to reach a state of elegance.


Yeah, the meat thing can definitely be overdone. I slice *one* sausage wafer thin for a pot of soup.

I think the pea went out of favor during the middle ages. (Why do I have the vague feeling we've had a similar discussion before?)

"Pease porrige hot, pease porrige cold etc." was a lamentation about having nothing but "pease" to eat all winter when there were no fresh vegetables around.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:26 pm

Oh, Chef, that was a hymn of praise to a perfect food -- storable all winter long with no loss, good hot, good cold, good young, good old.

[It's all in your point of view, of course.]

I've always loved peas, and loved growing them. I would like to say that I have that much in common with Thomas Jefferson, who loved peas (or growing them) and wine.

But my family calls me a "pea brain" among other things, so perhaps I don't have as much in common with TJ as I like to imagine.

At least, I'll avoid pontificating on the real history of that most delicious of foods.

Regards, Bob

PS: I can't resist posting an even simplier version of pea soup than Jenise came up with; I've made this dish even before I got trained on FLDG, and loved it:

1878 Amer. Home Cook Bk. 143 Pease pudding. One pint of peas and one potato.

B.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:49 pm

Chef Carey:
I think the pea went out of favor during the middle ages. (Why do I have the vague feeling we've had a similar discussion before?)


I'm not sure. After all, you lived through them, and I didn't. 8)
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby ChefCarey » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:18 pm

Jenise wrote:Chef Carey:
I think the pea went out of favor during the middle ages. (Why do I have the vague feeling we've had a similar discussion before?)


I'm not sure. After all, you lived through them, and I didn't. 8)


Have you not yet been introduced to the seven dwarves of menopause?

Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful and Psycho?
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:40 pm

ChefCarey wrote:Have you not yet been introduced to the seven dwarves of menopause? Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful and Psycho?


No, I haven't. But tell them hello for me, won't you? :lol:
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby ChefCarey » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:27 pm

Jenise wrote:
ChefCarey wrote:Have you not yet been introduced to the seven dwarves of menopause? Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful and Psycho?


No, I haven't. But tell them hello for me, won't you? :lol:


I will wave at them - they're in my rearview mirror.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:17 pm

ChefCarey wrote:I will wave at them - they're in my rearview mirror.


That's the best place for them, cowboy. :)
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Gary Barlettano » Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:31 pm

Jenise wrote:Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.


I have always shied away from the immersion blender when it has come to puréeing versus cooking things down. To me there's a real difference between dishes the constituents of which fell apart and thickened through low, slow cooking and those which one has puréed mechanically. (The foamy preparations often engendered by the latter methodology do not appeal to me, but that's a matter of immersion blending degree.) I imagine that the two methods are associated each with its own food chemistry and I know each has its own expression in the final result.

I wouldn't mind hearing yours and other folks' take on this.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Thu Oct 19, 2006 1:03 pm

Gary, I hear you, but even through longer cooking you wouldn't get the same texture one gets with an immersion blender. It's not about hastening the process, in this case it's just about getting a super-fine smoothness which for this version I prefer. Were I making a meat style, then no.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Christy M. » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:01 pm

Wonderful simple recipe. It is fast food for people who care about what they eat but don't feel like cooking some night. I tinkered of course, tripling the garlic and switching the basil for thyme. What a simple, perfect soup. Next I'm going to try it with yellow peas. Thanks for sharing!

I'm partial to fava beans having eaten them daily for two years while a Peace Corsp volunteer in Ethiopia. Here's a favorite simple fava bean soup recipe of mine from Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. It is not quite as instant since you have to soak the favas but it is really yummy (provided you like favas).

1.75 lb favas, soaked overnight
2 qts chicken/meat stock
4/5 cloves garlic or more if you like!
Up to 4 T olive oil
salt & pepper
parsley & quartered lemons & olive oil

Drain beans, cook beans and garlic in stock, simmer covered for ~2 hours. Remove any scum on top that develops. Mash w/potato masher (or use an immersion blender), add olive oil, season with salt & pepper, add liquid if necessary to thin soup. Serve with sprinkled parsley, lemon & olive oil to preference.
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Re: RCP: The best and simplest pea soup

Postby Jenise » Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:14 pm

Randy, do you have an immersion blender? You know, one of those stick wand types? Takes all the pain out of what used to be painful about using a blender. The stuff never has to leave the pan.
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