Saturday, 19 November 2011

And it was all yellow: Yellow split pea soup

When I was a child, the mere mention of peas brought to mind those mushy, murky, green, gloopy peas served with some boiled chicken and a half-hearted attempt at mashed potatoes. The smell would pervade the house and last for about a week.

These peas are a whole other story. If you ever spend some time looking for dried peas, beans, lentils etc, yellow split peas always seem to jump out of the shelves. Little golden sunshiney seeds. The sheer good feeling induced me to make this split pea soup. They do need to be soaked overnight so a little advance preparation is needed, but you could make a big batch and it would last for a few days. The nursery rhyme pease pudding is about just that! 

Pease pudding hot,
Pease pudding cold,
Pease pudding in the pot,
Nine days old. 

I probably wouldn't recommend going nine days however unless you fancy experimenting with food hygiene 1700s style!

I based the soup on a Jamie Oliver recipe minus the hunk of ham he throws in! If you really want a meaty flavour, you could try adding some liquid smoke for an added kick. 


Lug of olive oil
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
2 onions peeled and finely chopped
half tsp dried thyme
half tsp dried marjoram or oregano
500g dried yellow split peas
1.5 litres vegetable stock
salt and black pepper 
mustard to serve
crispbread to serve

Get a large pan on a low heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the celery, and onion. The recipe calls for the dried herbs to be added in at the same time, but I would rather add them later as I think especially with dried, they lose their flavour if added too early. Cook the celery and onion for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft but not coloured. 

Add the washed peas and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer over a medium to low heat. Pop the lid on and cook for around 50 minutes (I put in the dried herbs about 20 minutes in) or until the peas are lovely and soft. Roughly mash the peas to give a nice texture. Season with salt and pepper. 

Divide between the bowls, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve with a dollop of mustard  and crispbread for dipping. I served mine with spelt bread if you fancy something a little heartier. 
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