Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pea Soup a la Bachelor

Tonight I attempted to make pea soup without any of the ingredients the recipe called for, except peas, water, and thyme. It turned out exceptionally well, for a bachelor-style, improvised recipe. I'm not sure if it exactly qualifies as low-fat or low-salt, but I didn't add any table salt and I didn't use ham, so it might actually qualify as a "healthy alternative" too - yet surprisingly tasty.

First, the obvious. I took a 1-lb. bag of dried, split peas and quick-soaked them (boiled for 5 minutes under 2 inches of water, left standing for an hour or so, then drained and rinsed). Then, in a small stock-pot, I added a little over 5 cups of clean water to the peas and brought it up to a low boil for about an hour and a quarter, stirring occasionally. At that point I added about half the contents of one of those 2-lb. cardboard cartons of chicken broth. Then, guessing wildly at the quantities (which I did not measure), I added about 1 tsp. of thyme, 1 tsp. of celery salt, 2 tsp. of chipotle chili powder, 2 heaping tsp. of dried onion, a bit of garlic powder, and a bay leaf. Gourmets everywhere are probably wincing as (if) they read this; it may, in fact, be reproduced for generations of chef-school beginners as a cautionary tale. But that's what I put in, and I let it simmer for another 15 minutes or so, and then I turned off the heat and put the lid on the pot for a half hour or so.

When I served myself a bowlful at the end of that time, I felt nothing needed to be added except a handful of water crackers for a crunchy garnish. Sniffing the soup I was a little afraid I might have overdone things, but the taste was just right - mild enough that you know it's pea soup, but with an interesting flavor. It definitely avoids the pitfalls of being over-salty and having gobbets of pork fat floating in it. But not for a single spoonful did I think, "Gee, I wish it had more ____." I think it's a keeper. (I threw away the bay-leaf, though. Don't worry, I know that much.)

1 comment:

Kaza Kingsley, said...

You know, you made that "recipe," if you want to call it that, sound so good I want to go reproduce it myself!
I like the fact there are none of those pea-soup-mix MSG chemicals in it. Sounds like my style!
Kaza Kingsley