Friday, October 7, 2011

Radical Cooking - Home Made Split Pea Soup

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Cooking the new old fashioned way....
Better, faster, fresher, cheaper, healthier 

Home Made Soup
Warms Up the Kitchen!
Here's a REALLY radical idea..... make your own soup.

OK, I can see you all rolling your eyes at me... you don't have enough hours in the day to get everything done adding soup making to the mix....pleeze...

The next time you're in the grocery store, check out the never ending varieties of soup that stock the shelves, round out the salad bar and wait patiently in the freezer case. There's a lot of soup out there.

Stores and manufacturers love selling soup becaue it's a high profit item and they make a bundle. 

I'm not against people making money... in fact I applaud it... but wasting your hard earned money on something you can do better and cheaper just doesn't make any sense.

A two serving size can of brand name soup easily sells for $2.00. 

Gourmet, take out soup jumps the tab to 6 bucks.
That's a lot of cash for flavored water.

Non cooks think making soup is hard.  It's not. 

People pressed for time think soup is time consuming to make.  It isn't.

For fraction of the cost and in less time than you think, you can make soup that's better, fresher, healthier and cheaper than any you can buy.  (And every penny counts these days.)

Home Made Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
The ingredients are simple, just peas and water.  Jazz things up a bay leaf.  Add some carrots, potatoes and ham if you'd like. Even a splash of cream.  And while you're at it, home made garlic croutons would be good too.

Serves 4-6

1 (one pound) package dried green split peas
12 cups water
1 bay leaf (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash peas by putting them into a deep bowl and covering them with tepid tap water. Swish peas around and drain into a colander. Repeat 2 more times. Remove and discard any badly shriveled or discolored peas.

Put washed peas into a large pot. Add water and bay leaf (optional). Partially cover pot and bring to a boil on high. Reduce heat and simmer about an hour or until peas have disintegrated and soup is desired thickness. (If the soup is thicker than you'd like, stir in some water.) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Old Fashioned Ham Hock and Split Pea Soup
Prepare Vegetarian Home Made Split Pea Soup omitting bay leaf. Add one or two ham hocks at the beginning of cooking. Add a couple of peeled, sliced carrots and some peeled, diced potato if you want.  When soup is done, remove ham hocks and cool until easy to handle. Shed meat and return to soup.  Discard bones and rind.

Karla's Tip:  
Don't know a ham hock from a holly hock????

A ham hock is a big ham bone so any ham bone will do.  This is a great soup to make using the bone from a baked ham - especially with all the ham bits attached.

Kielbsa sausage also works well  -  vegetarian sausage, too.  
There's no bone, of course, but they give the soup good flavor.  

Whirl the crusts in the food
processor for bread crumbs.
Store in the freezer.
Garlic Croutons
All amounts are to taste.

Garlic cloves (or garlic salt or garlic powder)

Cut some bread into cubes the size you like. (Day old/slightly stale bread works best and you'll probably want to cut the crusts off.)

Put 1/4 inch of your favorite oil (we like olive oil) into the bottom of a skillet.  Add a tablespoon or two of butter (optional.... it's for flavor). If using garlic cloves, add them too. (Garlic powder or garlic salt gets added later.) 

Heat till hot but not smoking. (The air above the oil starts to take on a moving pattern just before it starts to smoke and the butter foam will start to disapate.)   

Add the bread cubes keeping them in a single layer (don't pile them on top of each other - you might have to work in batches).  Turn croutons once they've browned to a color you like.  (Turn only once... avoid turning over and over as they cook.  Turning too much makes them greasy.)

When browned, remove to a cooling rack (use a rack like you use to cool cookies - never paper towels).  If you're using  garlic salt or garlic power sprinkle the croutons now to taste. 

Store left overs in the refrigerator.  Great on salad, too!


Lentil soup is made EXACTLY the same way.... just use lentils instead of split peas.  Celery and onions are a nice addition to lentil soup.

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