I love this vegetarian split pea soup from Good Fat Cooking by Franklin Becker, which is a delicious departure from the typical version with ham. I'm also a big fan of Chef Becker's The Little Beet restaurant, which serves a similarly delicious split pea soup that has been my winter lunchtime staple. I really can't say enough good things about Chef Becker's cooking and his approach to food. He puts together food that is nourishing and satisfying, with unexpected ingredient combinations to keep everything lively.
This soup has great flavor thanks to Madras curry and a bit of cayenne pepper. It's tasty, hearty, and satisfying, yet still healthy. I used vegetable broth rather than water (which I recommend if possible) and chose not to puree this batch, leaving a more rustic texture. I also really like this soup when pureed, so the choice is entirely up to you. This was a very simple soup to make and it got enthusiastic reviews from my dedicated taste tester. You could easily double the batch if you want to freeze and save some for later.
While this soup certainly helped me get through the winter, I'm looking forward to enjoying it's bright flavors well into spring.
Recipe: Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
- 1 tbsp clarified butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large celery ribs, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 3/4 cups dried yellow split peas
- 2 tsp Madras curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 5-6 cups vegetable broth or water
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley, for garnish
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat large, heavy-bottomed pan over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the clarified butter, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; cover, and sweat the vegetables until translucent (about 10 minutes).
- Add the split peas, curry powder, and cayenne. Stir well to coat thoroughly with the mirepoix.
- Add the white wine and cook until almost evaporated, using a wooden spoon to scrape bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add the water or vegetable broth and simmer until a peas smashes easily when pressed against the side of the pot, about 40 to 50 minutes. The soup will have thickened. Adjust the flavor with salt and pepper.