Monday, December 9, 2013

Split Pea, Barley, and Vegetable Soup

Cold, cold, cold! It's been more than a little cold here in Colorado. Soup is what you need when it's cold. This vegetarian soup is easy and adaptable. And, it makes a lot. Sure to warm your belly.

The recipe calls for turnips, but you can use rutabaga (a large yellow turnip), or daikon (an Asian turnip). You could use cauliflower. You can even use celery root, which is rather exotic for most folks. It works great here because it is a hardy vegetable that holds up to long cooking but its flavor is subtle, like a very mild celery. You need to peel it and cut away all the brown rough parts which results in a fair amount of waste. That makes celery root a somewhat expensive vegetable. But, this recipe is very inexpensive because it contains no meat, so splurge a little on the veg if you want to experiment with a new vegetable. You can also mix up the turnips/rutabagas/celery root/cauliflower in any proportion you have. I used ½ pound daikon and ½ pound celery root because that's what was in my fridge.

Split Pea, Barley, and Vegetable Soup
(serves 8, costs $6)

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced (or 2 medium leeks, white and light green part, thinly sliced)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
¾ cup diced red pepper (about ½ a pepper, can use frozen)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile in adobo, seeded and minced
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
10 cups water
1 cup dried split peas (yellow or green)
1 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1" dice
½ cup pearl barley
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vinegar, lime or lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and chile. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add coriander and cumin. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Add water, split peas, turnips, barley, oregano, thyme, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to low to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until split peas are tender, at least 1 hour 30 minutes, or longer, if you prefer them softer. Add salt and vinegar or citrus juice. Stir  and taste. Add more salt, if needed. Freezes well.

Adapted from Lean Bean Cuisine by Jay Solomon, 1995, Prima Publishing.

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