I cannot post about soup and not tell you about Mafalda. She is one of my favorite characters of all times. It was my nickname in grade school. My mother cut my hair just like hers, and I really looked alike. Fortunately she was smart and savvy and with an irreplaceable acid sense of humor. The comic stories made up an extraordinary collection by writer/illustrator Quino that were published for years and years. I still have early editions somewhere.
She hated soup; despised it. Eating it was the worst punishment. Like the time she was at the beach and wouldn´t go into the ocean because she said it looked like a big bowl of soup with noodles (because it was full of people).
I´m nothing like Mafalda in that respect; also my hair is long now. I love soup; I could make and have soup every day. It´s a good thing it´s really popular. I´ve been making this split pea soup for years now. It´s very easy; the potatoes and some of the peas cook a long time and thicken it in a very good way. It will thicken even more when it sits. Just add more water or stock.
PARKER´S SPLIT PEA SOUP
barely adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten
Note: I reduced the amount of oil and halved the recipe. The full recipe makes a huge amount of soup. After you add the second batch of split peas watch it often as the stock disappears quickly and you don´t want the veggies to stick to the bottom of the pot. Since I couldn´t find red potatoes I used regular, white potatoes, but I had fresh oregano. I like to serve with parmesan croutons.
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 Tbs. minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 2 teasoons fresh)
1 Tbs. kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 cups medium-diced carrots (6 to 8 carrots)
2 cups medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (6 small)
2 pounds dried split green peas
16 cups vegetable stock (or water)
Parmesan Croutons (below)
In an 8-quart stockpot on medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper until the onion are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1 ½ pounds split peas, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Add the remaining split peas and continue for another 40 minutes, or until all the split peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Serves 10 to 12
Parmesan Croutons: Just tear pieces from a loaf of good white bread, like this one, and toast them in a medium (325ºF/170ºC) oven with salt, pepper, parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. I don’t like to cut the bread with a knife because the irregular pieces that result when you tear the bread with your hands have rough ends that get very crunchy when toasted.