Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Soup Week 28 - More rain!

Wow. Two weeks of company coming and going. I did quite a bit of cooking, including a big ham which produced one lovely ham bone for a nice pot of soup. Did I mention that it's raining again?

Which raises the question -- is it raining because I keep making soup, or am I making soup because it's always raining?

My Aunt Elaine bought me a stack of old Time Life Foods of the World Cookbooks at a garage sale. This lovely potage is adapted from the book on provincial France.

In a soup pot, boil 6 cups of water. Drop in 2 cups of yellow split peas. Add a bouquet garni of 2 parsley sprigs, 2 celery tops, 1 bay leaf and a sprig of thyme (tied together with string), along with a ham bone. Cover partially and simmer until the split peas are cooked soft. (This took a few hours; I added more water along the way so it stayed a soupy consistency.)

In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp of butter in a heavy skillet. Add a handful of pork fat. Heat on low for a few hours until the pork turns crisp and the fat liquifies. (Last night I trimmed a roast into small pieces for kabobs and saved the fat. If you don't have fresh pork fat, use butter.) Time Life says "remove the pork and discard it" but frankly, I love those crispy fried bits of pork and so it became lunch.

When the split peas are cooked, add 1/2 cup of green peas (fresh or frozen) and 1 cup of chopped ham. Remove the bouquet garni. Cook through. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook 1 chopped onion in the pork fat until it's soft and turning brown. Add 1 cup of fresh chopped spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Turn the onion-spinach mixture into the soup. Before serving, stir in 2 tbsp of soft butter. Yes, it's a rich soup, but hardy enough for a cold and wet July day.

Additional note: the recipe called for pureeing the soup before adding the green peas, but I like a chunky soup so I didn't to that.

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