Now to the soup. I've always been deathly afraid of split pea soup. It's green, looks goopy, and is oftentimes made with ham--and I do not like ham (no, Sam). So I've avoided split pea soup at all costs.
Things change--people change--and I recently found myself wondering about split pea soup. I couldn't do the ham, that I knew, so was there another way to make it? I found my answer on the Food Network website in the form of Alton Brown's Curried Split Pea Soup. I love curry and there was no ham. Winner! My first pot was good, better than I'd expected, to be honest. Even my husband, who likes just about everything, was a little worried. It is green, after all--though I made sure it was not goopy. He was as pleasantly surprised as I was.
This recipe is loosely based on Alton's recipe. I changed it some because his recipe called for 12 oz of dried split peas and the bags I buy at the store are 16 oz. Who wants to have 4 oz of dried peas hanging around? I also replaced the butter in the original recipe with olive oil, and increased the curry by a lot. I wanted lots of curry flavor, and my first pot was a little weak. If you're not so much into strong curry, use the lower of the two amounts specified in the recipe.
Curried Split Pea Soup
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 16-oz bag green split peas, rinsed and picked over
7 cups chicken broth
sour cream or plain yogurt for serving, if desired
1. Heat a medium pot over medium heat until hot. Add the olive oil and heat for 10 seconds. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
2. Add the rinsed split peas and chicken broth to the pot. Turn up the heat to bring it to a boil, cover and reduce the heat low or medium low to maintain a simmer. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until the peas are very soft and falling apart. Remove from the heat.
3. Being very careful of splatters (please!), use a stick blender to puree the soup. This only takes about 30 seconds.
4. To serve, garnish with sour cream or plain yogurt. (I thinned my yogurt with a little milk to make it thin enough so it didn't sink and I could do the swirly thing on the top).
Makes about 2 quarts soup.