VEGETARIAN SPLIT PEA SOUP
Almost an afterthought, I tossed some Mezzetta tamed jalapenos in this soup, and the resulting dish had an amazing flavor -- definitely worth trying. Of course, some folks need to have a little meat in their split pea soup, and chopped prosciutto is just the right flavor and weight to blend in.
2 ½ quarts vegetable stock*
1 lb dried split green peas, rinsed & drained
2 tbsp butter
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (use the hearts)
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly
one bunch green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3-4 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 ½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp (or to taste)
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup frozen petite peas
1 cup shredded smoked gouda
-- smoked gouda, cubed into bite-sized pieces
-- fresh garlic croutons
-- sliced jalapenos (Mezzetta "tamed")
-- and if you really must have some meat, chopped prosciutto!
In a large stockpot, bring vegetable stock to a boil and add the peas. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, covered.
While peas are simmering, in a large skillet, melt butter. Add celery, onion, garlic, carrots, and green onion, cooking until onion is golden brown.
To the split peas, add the sautéed vegetable mixture, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Mix well. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours, covered. Add frozen peas and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Just before serving, stir the smoked gouda into the soup until completely melted. Serve with your favorite garnishes.
*QUICK VEGETABLE STOCK
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, washed & coarsely chopped
2 med onions, peeled & coarsely chopped
4 or more cloves garlic, halved
3-4 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
1 bunch scallions
2 tbsp salt
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
3 quarts water
In a large stockpot, sauté vegetables until golden brown. The deeper the browning, the richer your stock will be, which is important for flavoring. Just be sure not to burn anything as that will turn your stock bitter.
Add the seasonings, herbs and water to the pot, stir well. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for an hour.