A couple of Fridays ago I met a friend for some grownup (read: stiff) cocktails followed by some of the best Indian food I have ever had. In between, we stopped off at Kalustyan’s, where I once again failed to exercise any restraint. This is where I picked up those Jamaican Jerk Bitters that went into last weekend’s cocktail. I also purchased an excessive quantity of legumes.
Fortunately, soup season is upon us. We’re having a brilliant autumn here in New York City. The days are crisp, cool and noticeably shorter, making the bright amber sunlight all the more precious. Yesterday found me traversing Prospect Park bundled into my new emerald green Paddington Bear coat, listening (and likely singing aloud) to Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series, Volumes 1-3. ‘Twas autumnal perfection.
Today I am hunkered down at home trying to catch up on work–the perfect time for a little soup making (and a little more Dylan).
Split Pea Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ounces slab bacon, diced
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 5 carrots, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large sprig fresh thyme
- 1 large pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 small pinch ground cloves
- salt and pepper
Bring a large, heavy-bottomed pot up to medium-low heat with the olive oil. Add your bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until mostly rendered but not crispy. Add the onions and continue to stir and cook until they are soft. Add the carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Dump in the split peas, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper and cloves along with 7 cups of water. Raise heat, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let cook, stirring more frequently as the mixture thickens, for two hours. Fish out the thyme and bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste. (A little smoked salt will amp up the bacon flavor.)
This is nice finished with a little sherry vinegar. If you’re entertaining, you might throw in some frozen peas at the end, which will provide a lovely counterpoint to your delicious mush, and serve with a garnish of pumpernickel croutons. If you just polished off a large bowl of miso-poached eggs with bok choy and tatsoi and already have dinner plans, just pack the cooled soup into small containers and accept that this is what you will be eating for lunch all week. It reheats brilliantly.