Saturday, May 7, 2011

Split Pea Soup

Delicious, nutritious, easy, and cheap. If you are trying to feed a family on a low budget, you can't do better than split pea soup. My vegan version of split pea soup includes chunky root vegetables and plenty of seasoning.

I start by chopping up a large onion and 3 large carrots and mincing up 3 cloves of garlic. I heat a little olive oil in the bottom of my pot and throw in the vegetables and stir them around.

While the vegetables are cooking, I scrub and cube 4 large potatoes with the skins still on. When the onions are translucent, I throw the potatoes into the pot.

I put 2 lbs of dried split peas into a colander and rinse them well - looking for any small bits of debris to discard. Green is my favorite color and these look really beautiful when they are wet.

I add the peas and 2.5 quarts of water to the pot. I season the soup with a large cube of Knorr vegetable bouillon, about .5 tsp of Wright's Liquid Smoke, black pepper and Adobo seasoning. You could use salt instead of Adobo, but the Adobo adds a nice flavor. The liquid smoke gives the soup a surprising smoky flavor without ham or bacon.

Another thing that is nice about split peas is that they don't take very long to cook. After adding all these ingredients, I brought the soup to a boil, then reduced the heat to simmer. Because the peas are split, they will disintegrate into a thick puree-like consistency when they are done. It's important to stir them now and then while they are cooking to keep them dispersed through the liquid. Add more water if they get too thick. I'm making this batch extra thick for Friends at Bulls Head Meeting tomorrow to take home, so they can add more water when they reheat it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Paltz Meeting's Ministry of Soup

This past Sunday I worshiped with Friends at New Paltz Meeting on the other side of the Hudson River in New Paltz NY. New Paltz Meeting, along with Poughkeepsie Meeting, Cornwall Meeting and my meeting Bulls Head, are part of a regional group that we Quakers call the Quarterly Meeting, because we get together once a calendar quarter.

New Paltz Meeting also has a ministry of soup, but their custom is a little different. They have a kitchen right next to their meeting room and as soon as Meeting for Worship is over, they pull a big table into the center of the room and bring out some nice bread and a pot of soup that has been warming. Everyone shares soup and fellowship together as we come back to the temporal plane after the experience of worship.

New Paltz Friends take turns making the soup. This Sunday David Goodwin made a hearty black bean soup that smelled deliciously of cumin. I found David enjoying sunshine and soup on the porch and took his picture and got him to tell me about his soup.

David started, as I often do, by sauteing some onions, garlic and carrots in a bit of oil. Then he added 4 cans of black beans, 2 cans of tomatoes, and a can of corn (whole not creamed!) and 12 cups of vegetable stock. He seasoned the soup with ground cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. This was a simple but flavorful soup that fed a room full of Friends and everyone seemed happy to go back for seconds.

If you are visiting New Paltz, the Quaker Meeting is right on off the main drag downtown. It's a lovely meeting that is very welcoming to families with small children and they won't send you away hungry.