What I had for dinner:

Pea Soup

[ Previous ] 12 Nov 1994 21:46:24 -0500 [   Next   ]

The good thing about cold weather (I really can think of only one), is that it's time for the starches again. Real food at last.

Pea soup is the epitome of winter food. When the air is damp and the branches bare, the smell of a pot of split peas evokes fireplaces and tallow candles, wooden bowls and stone walls. It is medieval food.

I prefer green split peas, although I can see the merits of yellow as well as green, whole as well as split. The peas are boiled in a large amount of water, with just a couple of bay leaves, whole cloves of garlic, and some ground cumin, for a half hour while the rest of the ingredients are being prepared.

First, ham bone and scraps, or cubes of Canadian bacon, are sauteed in vegetable oil, and drained well, then added to the peas. Then, sliced hot peppers (I used Anaheim, but jalapeno or serrano are fine; Scotch bonnets/habaneros are too strongly flavored for this) and wedges of onions are added, and the peas cooked for at least an hour more, with occasional stirring. A copper or aluminum bottomed pan is recommended, to avoid scorching on hot spots.

When the peas have disintegrated thoroughly into a self-mash, the consistency is adjusted with extra water if needed, and sliced celery and carrots, and grated lemon rind (about 1/4 lemon per serving) are added for a minute, just enough to heat through without cooking.

That's it. Straight out of Ivanhoe and King John, except that they would have used black pepper instead of capsicum peppers.

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