Adrienne Gajownik

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Smoky split pea soup

I hope you had a wonderful long holiday weekend. I decided to take a much needed break from the computer, hence my late post this week. Better late than never, right?

I thought this would be a perfect recipe to share post-Thanksgiving food coma as it's light, yet still filling and a great way to warm up as the temperature keeps dropping.
This soup was inspired by an oak-smoked split pea soup I bought from Waitrose while studying abroad in London in the winter of 2005. 2 cartons of soup cost 3 pounds which was a bargain for us students. We didn't have mini-fridges in our dorm rooms, so we'd keep our perishables cold by setting our grocery bags on the ledge below our windows. Soup was ideal for that time of year in London, as we ate it more to warm us up than for sustenance. That soup was made smoky by bacon, but this soup uses smoked paprika instead (a great spice to have, if you don't already own it).
This soup is ready in less than an hour. While the soup is cooking, clean the kitchen or finish decorating the Christmas tree. Serve with bread or this salad for a lighter meal or enjoy as an appetizer before dinner.

Smoky split pea soup
1 tbsp olive oil
half a red onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c green split peas, rinsed
5-6 c water
1.5 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp red wine vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Saute for a few minutes, then add the garlic, chilli powder and salt. Cook until fragrant, then add the split peas and water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 30-35 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Puree with an immersion blender or blender (be careful with hot liquids) until smooth or keep chunky, if you prefer. If the soup is too thick, add a bit of water to thin. Garnish with more smoked paprika and a bit of yogurt.