Vegan Split Pea Soup
The split pea soup recipe that I grew up with of course involves a ham bone or ham hock. I still like to make split pea soup using country ham but often times I don't have a ham hock convenient and I don't feel like running to the store for country ham, or salted pork so I ended up creating a vegan version of one of my favorite comfort foods.
For vegan split pea soup you will need one finely diced onion, two stalks of celery finely diced, three cloves of garlic minced, one chopped carrot, about a tablespoon of vegetable oil, a one pound bag of dried split peas, curry powder to taste (probably one to two tablespoons), and salt to taste. I also like to begin my soup with about a tablespoon of whole black mustard seeds to add a more meaty flavor.
I begin my spilt pea soup by heating a tablespoon of whole black mustard seeds (which I buy in bulk at an organic food store) in my vegetable oil at medium heat until they pop. (This is an optional step but I think it adds a fullness to the soup that is hard to acheve otherwise.) Then I will add my celery, onions and garlic with a pinch of salt and will sweat them until the onion is transluscent. I then add my bag of dried split peas, carrots, and cover with water. I allow this to simmer adding water when necessary until the split peas have completely broken down to thicken the soup. I then season with curry powder and salt until it tastes about right to me.
My mother always milled her split pea soup thought a colander but I don't think this step is really all that necessary. The split peas usually break down well enough with out this step and I prefer large chunks of carrot in my split pea soup.
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