Split Pea Minus the Ham Hock
Our friend Lisa gave us this great cookbook for our wedding. I loved it at first sight but for some reason always overlooked it. Habit perpetually drove me towards Joy of Cooking or epicurious.com, but once I was in the mood for split pea minus the ham hock, I knew this book would have what I needed. So I searched the index and found a great recipe that hailed from Indian cooking. I was especially excited because I really enjoyed J’s soup from the other day and wanted to create something similar. The kind of soup that had layers of flavor and would simmer in your mouth.
I won’t post the recipe (I feel there must be some kind of copyright issue there) but I will share that the plan called for spices I had never used before, such as coriander, tumeric and green chile peppers. I was excited to purchase new additions for my pantry. The chile and coriander were easy to find but the tumeric proved more difficult. Our local supermarket is usually pretty worldly but there was none to be found. So I took the rest of my groceries home and told myself I’d venture out later to the organic store. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I wound up googling substitutions and used ground mustard seed instead. Being unfamiliar with tumeric, I wasn’t sure how much I would miss it. Plus, if google says it’s true…
Last time I made split pea soup I didn’t soak the peas. I used the J of C recipe, minus the hock, and the soup came out nicely thick, albeit a little bland. Though this recipe suggested I soak the peas for a few hours, I was anxious to begin and thought I would just let the soup simmer longer than instructed. That would soften the peas, right? Wrong. Five hours later, and the peas were still pretty tough. Oh well. The soup was tasty but chewy. Hopefully they’ll soften more as the rest of the soup sits overnight. In general, I liked the dish but it wasn’t as spicy as I had expected. Maybe next time I’ll insist on the tumeric and add a little more chile.