Green Split Pea Soup

Green split pea soup with fresh herbs and a hint of lemon.  It whispers that spring might be on it’s way – if of course it weren’t snowing outside…

Yield: 8 cups

What you need:

  • 1 cup green split peas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, minced, 2 cups
  • 2 ribs of celery, very finely diced, 1 cup
  • 2 small carrots, very finely diced, 1 cup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, something fruity if possible
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (I had no fresh, but if you’ve got some, about a teaspoon should do the job)
  • zest of 1 organic lemon
  • 8 cups unsalted (or salted) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. In a large dutch oven, sweat the leek, celery and carrots in the olive oil, with a generous pinch of salt, over medium-low heat, until reduced and sweet-smelling.  No liquid should remain, just the oil coating the vegetables, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the thyme, tarragon, marjoram and stir, cooking another few minutes until the herbs are fragrant.
  3. Add the split peas and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, mostly covered, until the split peas are tender to taste.  For me that’s about 45 minutes, but it could be more or less depending on how soft you like them.  Salt about half way through the cooking period.
  4. When done, taste for salt, adjust as needed, and add white pepper to taste.
  5. Now – the secret to avoiding drap-olive-hued split-pea soup: adding some fresh and bright greens at the very end!  To finish the soup, remove 2 cups and add it to a blender along with the 2 cups of fresh baby spinach.  Blend until completely smooth and pour it back into the soup.
  6. Serve.  I like chopped pistachios or freshly sprouted mung beans for garnish, but as is it’s pretty awesome too.

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