Wish Upon A Dish: Split Pea Soup with Thai Sherry Cream & Squash Seed Oil

January 14, 2013

Split Pea Soup with Thai Sherry Cream & Squash Seed Oil

Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot
Nine days old.
I am going to tell you the story we were told behind that nursery rhyme by a tour guide at Fort Niagara.
Seems that Ft. Niagara was built and occupied by the French to keep watch over it's Canadian territories in the New World. At that time law and the French Army dictated that every man serve seven years in the militia. Even though Fort Niagara was a trading post, food was sparse and they had to grow what they could. Whatever was preserved, salted or dried got them through many a cold winter. The kitchen cooks would make huge pots of pea porridge and they would eat out of it everyday until after about 9 days of constant cooking. By that time the bottom made a thick crust, which was pounded out into chunks and those chunks was given to the soldiers scheduled for maneuvers around the outside of the fort. 

Cool, huh? Well, not really, but I bet the soup was good. Even back then they knew it was full of lifesaving nutrients.

Soup warms your tummy and your soul. If any one food could make me happy it's winter, it has to be soup. I have soup at least 4x in any given week during the months of September thru May, then the rest of the year, maybe 2x a week.
Oh, yes baby, I love soup, but not every soup. Not a fan of cold soups, you won't find me at the front of the line if even the Soup Nazi was serving cold ones.

I am guilty of not making Split Pea Soup more often and until I bring it up, The Nudge also stands right beside me. I forget how good it really can be.
While pea soup is easy to make, it can be quite pasty which is why I imagine kids don't like it (plus the fact that it is lacking in the beauty arena).

This version is my best to date. It was exceptionally flavorful but lacking somethin' somethin'. It needed texture, so I minced up a piece of country ham and held back a handful of dried peas to add towards the end of cooking to remain whole in the pureed soup. That helped slightly, but it still needed a bit of excitement to your tongue.
Since most pureed-style soups use a dollop of something to brighten up not only the appearance but to add that special mouth fee that only a fat can, a crema was in order. Sherry is usually added to pea soup before serving, so I added sherry to the crema and not to stop there, I grabbed my trusty bottle of Thai-style chili sauce and voila!! A final drizzle of butternut squash seed oil (you could use any nut flavored oil) turned this simple soup into a gourmet treat. The Nudge cleaned his bowl. Yup, best ever.

Let's discuss the nutritionals for one minute.
Homemade is always better but a good canned split pea soup is a good alternative as long as you are aware of the high sodium levels they use to preserve and up the flavor. The healthy ingredients in split pea soup yield a nutrient-dense meal, and consuming the soup has a number of health advantages. Besides the usual roundup of Vitamins and Minerals a 1-cup serving of canned split pea soup contains around 4.8 grams of dietary fiber, or approximately 17 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake and also helps you reach your daily recommended intake of potassium, an essential mineral.
Bet you did not even know about Vitamin K but a 1-cup serving of canned split pea soup contains 18 micrograms of vitamin K -- 20 or 15 percent of the recommended daily intake for women or men. (Vitamin K helps to activate enzymes responsible for triggering blood clot formation to protect you from blood loss). Something my Dad needs to know because he's on Plavix.

Split Pea Soup w/Thai-Sherry Crema and Nut Oil Drizzle
makes 2 servings (can be doubled)
* 1 cup dried split peas (green or yellow), divided 3/4 + 1/4
* 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
* 1 Goya Ham flavored concentrate
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 large carrot
* 1 stalk celery
* 1/2 white onion
* 1 leek, white part only
* 1 large clove garlic
* 1 bay leaf
* 6oz piece of country ham, diced into 1/4" cubes

* 2oz low fat cream cheese (can use fat-free)
* 2 tablespoons skim or 1% milk
* 1 tablespoon Thai-Style Chili Sauce
* salt & pepper
* 1 tablespoon dry sherry
* Squirt of agave or honey
* Butternut squash seed oil (or any nut oil of choice)

1. Rough chop the carrot, onion, leek, celery stalk and garlic and process until it is just shy of pureed. No processor? Grate the carrot, onion and celery stalk, mince the garlic and slice the leek into thin rounds. All this will be pureed in the end.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan until you can smell it and spoon all the processed vegetables into the oil.
3. Saute, covered, until the vegetable become browned and the bottom of the pot is crusted. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth, the packet of ham concentrate and 3/4 cup of peas. Lower heat to simmer, cover and set the timer to 45 minutes.
4. Add 1 cup more broth to peas and simmer 15 minutes more. Remove bay leaf.
5. Using an immersion or stand blender, carefully puree mixture until totally smooth.
6. Add ham, the last cup of broth and the remaining 1/4 cup dried peas. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the peas are tender but mot mush (about 30 minutes). Adjust salt & pepper.
7. In a small bowl, whisk together cream cheese, milk, chili sauce, agave, sherry and salt & pepper. Taste to adjust flavors adding more milk if too thick or more salt.
8. Serve with 3 dollops (about 3 teaspoons) of crema and a drizzle of the oil. Can use a good extra virgin olive oil if you don't have a nut oil.

Dietary Exchanges

Fat 1
Meat 3.3
Starch 2.5
Vegetable 0.7
Very Lean Meat 0.2 

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1 comment :

Mary said...

What a wonderful soup for a stormy winter night. This looks delicious and I know I would love it. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary