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Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Different Take on Split Pea Soup

I love split pea soup. Traditionally, split pea soup is split peas, vegetables such as carrots, onions and potatoes, and maybe a ham bone. That's all good, but it is pretty basic.

This week, I made a split pea soup from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, one of the many Moosewood cookbooks. Moosewood is a vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, New York that has been around a very long time. It was in Ithaca when I went to college in upstate NY and that was quite a while ago. It's still there; I drove by when I was in Ithaca last October. If my daughter decides to go to school in upstate NY, I might actually eat there. I wasn't much interested in vegetarian food when I was in college, so I never ate there way back then.

This recipe is different because it draws on the delectable spices of North Africa. The spices and the onions bring out the sweetness in the peas. It is a warming bowl of soup.

Split Pea and Rice Soup
(serves 6)

1 1/2 cups dried split peas
4 1/2 cups water
3 bay leaves
1 large onion (about 3 cups), chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Rinse split peas. Put them in a soup pot with water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook until golden, but do not brown. Add spices and cook for another 10 minutes. Watch carefully so that spices don't burn.
3. Add the onion mixture to the peas along with stock. Simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes or until peas are very soft.
4. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes until hot.

Link to PDF of Split Pea and Rice Soup Recipe