Pease porridge: hot!

May 02, 1999|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Some of the best pea soups come from Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Germany, and split-pea soup is a favorite in areas of the United States settled by immigrants from these countries.

Split peas are produced from small, smooth-skinned green or yellow pea varieties known as field peas, grown specifically for drying. They are higher in protein but not as sweet as the wrinkled-skin peas, which are harvested before they mature and eaten fresh.

Green split peas are the traditional choice for this soup, although you can use yellow peas.

For a meatless version, substitute vegetable stock for the ham and water, omit the frankfurters or sausage, and garnish the soup with a handful of warm croutons.

Black Forest-Style Split-Pea Soup Makes about 12 cups, 6 servings

2 tablespoons butter

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, diced

1 rib celery, thinly sliced

1 medium potato (about 1/2 pound), diced

a meaty ham bone or 3/4 pound smoked ham, cubed

1 package (12 ounces; about 1, cups) green split peas, rinsed and drained

1 can or bottle (12 ounces) beer

6 cups water

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons whole mustard seed, crushed

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 pound good-quality frankfurters or cooked mild sausages, sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

salt, to taste

1/4 cup each: chopped parsley and sliced green onions

In a 5 1/2 - to 6-quart kettle over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft but not browned.

Add potato, ham bone or ham, split peas, beer, the water, thyme, mustard seed and cloves. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until ham and peas are very tender (2 to 2 1/2 hours). Remove ham bone, if used; pull meat off bone, discarding skin and bone. Return chunks of meat to soup.

Add frankfurter or sausage slices and reheat. Blend in vinegar. Taste; add salt if needed. Stir in parsley and green onions. Serve very hot in warmed bowls.

Pub Date: 05/02/99

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