I live in an area of the USA with a rather high vegetarian/vegan population and this soup is for my non meat eating friends. The best part while delicious as is, its also perfect for a ham based more traditional soup.
I was watching a cooking show the other day and realized if I called this a soup when serving it I would get lambasted. technically this is split pea porridge.
This soup takes a little bit of time, I get asked for the recipe fairly often and simply writing out the steps and ingredients doesn't convey the technical points that bring out flavor.
This recipe yields ~32 cups @ ~150 cal per cup
Nutrient dense and high in fiber.
It takes ~3-3.5 hours total
20-40 minutes veg prep
10 minutes blending
20 minutes or so of dealing with baking
The rest of the time is stirring every 10 minutes or so waiting for the pot get back to simmering. This can be mitigated with a double boiler or using the slow cooker instructions.
Finish it off with Tabasco, balsamic vinegar, or lemon, serve with a sourdough.
Step 1: Tools
I make a very large batch and between the 4 people in the house only 1/2 a batch makes it to the freezer.
You will need an 8 qt soup pot heavier bottom pots work better
optional an even larger pot to use as a double boiler this will save you labor but not time
2 sheet trays for the oven
An immersion blender or household blender
1 cup measure
Tea ball or kitchen twine or herb bag
You can do this without a double boiler or without an immersion blender. Trying to do it without both is probably going to be very difficult. At one point you would likely need to slowly stir the pot for almost 40 minutes.
Step 2: Ingredients
cut in half to fit into a slow cooker
16 cups water ~ gallon (3.84l)
2 pounds dry split peas (5 cups) (~.9kg)
2-2.5 pounds(.9-1.1kg) organic carrots (I really find the taste of organic makes a difference in this recipe)
1 bunch of organic celery ~ 1.5 pounds (680g)
1 large yellow onion ~ 1.25 pounds (566g)
Vegetable stock bullion(I use at the end to fill out the flavor it doesn't usually take much and could be ommitted)
Olive oil for the roasting
Bay leaves (dry)
*optional 1 Tbsp dried Thyme(I generally prefer it without the thyme but for some change its a good addition)
*optional 2-5 dried Arbol chili pods(red pepper flakes type chili)
I dont recommend the thyme and chilis together
Step 3: Sort and Wash Peas Add Water
I dump the dry peas out across my palm slowly, and look for yellow and browned peas to remove.
While not really required, removing the rare stone or obviously discolored pea it will improve the flavor
add the 16-20 cups water
Step 4: Bring to a Boil and Skim Off the Foam
The foam is a bitter protein.
This can be done in the slow cooker on high it takes a bit. Don't expect to just dump everything in and go like many slow cooker recipes.
Step 5: Add Bay Leaves and Any Other Spices
2-4 bay leaves tying them together or otherwise constraining them makes it easier to remove them later.
This is also where you would add chili or thyme
Step 6: Reduce Heat Cover and Simmer for 1 Hour
stir the pot make sure all the peas are free of clumps
After 1 hour you will want to stir this pot every 10 minutes
Step 7: Prep Vegetables and Preheat Oven to 400F
Depending on how long you will need to get the vegetables prepped it takes me about 20 min so I start about the time the peas have been on for 40-60 minutes.
Place the oven racks as far up as they can go preheat to 400F (200c)
Step 8: Wash, Trim, DRY, Cut and Oil the Carrots + Onion
Clean, and trim your vegetables, then use a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to pat dry the vegetables. If they aren't dry, the oil wont stick and the flavor wont develop. Carrots over 1 inch thick may need to also be split.
Slice onion into 1/2 - 1 inch thick slices
Coat all veggies in oil, don't be afraid of having oil all over 1 hand. I do a wet hand - dry hand tactic where I pour oil into one hand and use it to coat the vegetables as I transfer them from the towel to the pan.
Step 9: Salt, Then Into the Oven
some salt on the veg brings out flavor, I salt shaker across the top a couple passes
Step 10: After 10 Min Check Veg
Sometimes veg is getting a tad brown a tad fast and reducing to 375F is required
Should you be stirring the peas yet?
Step 11: After 10 More Min Rotate Vegtables
Remove the pan from the top rack place it on the stove
move the bottom pan to the top rack and close the oven (according to some every second an oven door is open is 10 degrees lost heat)
Flip all the vegetables over and put in the oven on the bottom rack facing the opposite way it came out
Do the same to the now top rack pan.
ovens esp when full may not cook even so this mid cooking swap will help even out the heat. The bottom sheet also gets more direct heating.
Step 12: After 20 More Min Remove Vegetable From Oven
Don't forget to stir the peas
Step 13: Chop Veg
Pieces of onion and carrot should be able to fit into your immersion blenders guard.
celery is much stringier so requires a proper slicing
If you are using a household and not an immersion blender put the veg in the blender after chopping and blend smooth.
Step 14: Remove Bay Leaves
and chilies if included, unless you want it real spicy,
Step 15: Add Veg
Step 16: Deglaze Pans
If you didn't burn the pan juices there is a lot of flavor trapped in here, I add a 1/4-1/2 cup boiling water to the pan and sluice for 30 seconds then add this to the soup pot. The tray the onion was on is usually more flavorful than the carrot only. I think deglaze is the wrong term that's usually a hot pan and cold liquid, but the point is the same. get the brown flavor out
Step 17: Bring to a Simmer, Simmer ~ 40 Minutes
The soup is getting delicate and will be trying to scorch, so either keep stirring every 10 or less minutes until the celery is cooked. or place on a double boiler.
You may need to top off the water volume to thin the soup a little. I add boiling water from a kettle, this makes maintaining a simmer without scorching easier.
I prefer the double boiler method since I can walk away from it and let the flavors develop for even longer. You also don't have to stir while its on the double boiler except when you remember to check it, there is no chance of scorching. This huge mass of water does have the "downside" of extending the cook time by waiting for temps to be reached. The longer this soup simmers the better it blends with itself.
Step 18: Immersion Blender
To get this large a batch smooth as I like takes 2 or 3 separate runs with the immersion blender, at least with my old held together by a rubber band one.
Its about 10 minutes of blending, if you need to do this in phases return to heat and stir between blends.
Household blenders already did this step.
Step 19: Return to Heat, and Balance Flavor
You will need to stir pretty constantly or use a double boiler from this point on.
Check for the amount of salt, I usually have to add about 2 or more teaspoons.
This is a big pot of soup and it takes a minute or 2 for an addition to start incorporating properly. So add salt stir walk away for a few minutes stir again and then re-taste.
I add between 1/4-1/2 cup of vegetable stock. I prefer the Better Than Bouillon the other housemates prefer the Knorr
Since many bouillons have salt its sort of a tricky I find at this point you may need more salt still but these 2 items are easy to overdo and hard to undo. so be careful.'
1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil added at this point can also help bring out some flavor
Salt enhances flavor, fat carriers flavor, this soup has very little of both
Step 20: Enjoy!
Things I have found go well with this soup;
Salt, pepper, Tabasco, sourdough, nutty cheeses like Parmesan, bacon.
I tend to under salt so the addition of things like bacon or cheese won't unbalance the soup.