Friday, November 30, 2012

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

As a child, one of my favorite post-holiday traditions was when my mother would make split pea soup with the leftover ham and ham bone.  I loved the smoky, salty flavor that the ham would bring to the soup. Since ham is not something that I often cook for my small family of two, I was afraid I would never get the chance to relive my childhood memories in my own kitchen.  Then I came across a ham-free recipe for “Split Pea Soup with Rosemary” on  The recipe used soy sauce and tomato paste to bring the umami quality to the soup that is traditionally brought by the ham bone.  I added smoked paprika to bring about the smoky flavor that I loved so much in my mother’s soup.  This healthier version of the traditional split pea soup is surprisingly full of flavor, and hearty enough to serve as a winter meal.

Serves 4 

1 1/2 cups green split peas
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
1 cup diced baby carrots
1 large bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 1/2 - 4 cups water
2 cups vegetable stock or broth
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt

Sort and rinse peas; set aside.

Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pot.  Once oil is heated, add onion. Sauté until onions begin to brown slightly.  Add carrots and bay leaf, sauté an additional 3 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary, stir for 30 seconds.  Add tomato paste, stir for an additional 30 seconds.  Add soy sauce; cook until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Add smoked paprika, pepper, peas, 3 1/2 cups water, vegetable stock, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 1 hour, stirring often.  Add additional water to thin soup to desired consistency.  Remove bay leaf.  Add additional salt to taste.  

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