Split pea soup
As soon as the temperature drops I start to crave warming winter soups for lunch. This year our youngest son started me soup making. It turned out his bestie was taking soup in a vacuum flask for lunch. As far as playground fads go, this one was alright. So we started digging out the vacuum flasks, and scored a wide mouth food jar from our shop to add to the mix. Gryff requested pumpkin soup, which coincided with butternut pumpkins being ready to harvest. You'll find my go-to recipe from David and Gerda Foster's book, A Year of Slow Food, in an earlier blog post, Pumpkin soup for one
Minestrone soup always appeals because of the amount of goodness in the vegetables, as well as being filling with the inclusion of the small dried pasta pieces. Jill Dupleix says Jamie Oliver recommends it is a good opportunity to empty the pantry of half-used bags of pasta. In this instance I had risoni on hand. I was also happy to use potatoes, silverbeet and zucchini from our garden. We were on the verge of our first serious frosts so I stripped a good amount of basil leaves to blend with garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil to make pesto. The pesto is a delicious flavour burst to the minestrone.
Keen to ramp up the diversity of foods in our diet and add new recipes to my repertoire, I tried Dr Libby Weaver's split pea soup. It's another deliciously earthy soup, with the additional nutritional value of legumes, which are a good source of protein and fibre.
What you need: 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 celery stalks, 2 leeks, 2 carrots, chopped, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 300g potatoes, diced, 1.5L boiling water or stock, sea salt and pepper, 50g dried soup pasta, 400g canned chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 200g tinned borlotti beans, rinsed (I used cannellini beans), 200g silverbeet leaves, roughly chopped, 2 zucchini, roughly chopped, 2 tbsp pesto, 2 tbsp grated parmesan.
What you do: Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, add celery, leeks, carrots and garlic. Cook over gentle heat for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and water or stock and bring to the boil, skimming surface if necessary. Lower heat, add salt and pepper and simmer, partly covered for 20 minutes. Cook pasta in a pot of simmering salted water until al dente, then drain. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and silverbeet leaves to soup and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini and simmer 10 minutes or until the soup is thick. Add pasta and heat through. Serve in warm pasta bowls and top with a spoonful of pesto, grated parmesan and extra pepper.
What you need: 1 1/3 cups (310 g) green split peas, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 brown onion, chopped, 3 celery stalks, sliced, 2 carrots, chopped, 1.5L water, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 cup frozen peas, thawed, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, 2 tbsp baby capers, rinsed, 2 tbsp roughly chopped dill, finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon.
What you do: Place the split peas in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight. Next morning drain and rinse well. Heat half the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 10 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes or until softening. Add split peas, water, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until split peas are soft and creamy. Add thawed peas and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Set aside to cool slightly, then blend with a stick blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a small frypan over medium heat, add capers and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly crisp. Ladle the soup into four bowls and serve topped with fried capers, chopped dill, lemon zest and juice.
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