Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vegan Curried Split Pea Soup

put some curry on it...
On the Cheap: Vegan Curried Split Pea Soup
Finished vegan curried split pea soup, hot off the stove and ready to eat. 
Split pea soup is something I'd always WANTED to like. The concept of it always appealed to me, but I was never able to find a vegan version that was more than just a big bowl of ok. The heat and eat cans served their purpose but were somewhat pricey and pretty lacking in the flavor department. Then there's the glop factor. Bad split pea soup can have a texture/taste somewhat comparable to that of unseasoned dehydrated mashed potatoes. Yuck.
So after years of fruitless searching, and a lot of mediocre soup,
I set out to perfect a recipe of my own.
Soup ingredients still life: carrots, onion, split peas and curry powder.

With a little experimentation and a dash of curry powder, this recipe was born. Holding true to the "on the cheap" header of the post, dried split peas can easily be found for about a dollar per pound at your local grocery store. Store bought vegetable stock is relatively inexpensive or you can do homemade with leftover veggie scraps. The priciest ingredient will be the curry powder. If there is a co-op in your neighborhood you may be able to purchase it in bulk there.

If not, an Asian/ Indian grocery is a good place to seek out less expensive spices. If neither of these options are available to you just grab the curry powder from the grocery store. At about $5-6 per jar it won't break the bank, gives you a lot of bang for your buck flavor wise, and is worth having in your spice drawer for future recipes. 
Local carrots, peeled, sliced into discs and ready to be added to soup mix. 

When buying in bulk and using homemade stock, this recipe can be put together for between $3.50 and $5.00. Not too shabby for a pot of soup that serves 8-10.

*Note that this is an unblended soup. While a number of split pea soup recipes call for blending in the final step, I've found that if the peas are cooked properly they break down beautifully on their own, eliminating the 
need for blending.

Vegan Curried Split Pea Soup
(serves 8-10)

11b (about 2c) of dried green split peas 
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of carrots (about 8-10) 
peeled and sliced into 1/4' discs
1 onion diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
6 cups of low sodium vegan vegetable stock
1/2c water
2tsp kosher or sea salt
1tbsp madras curry powder
1 1/2tsp ground cumin

More salt and pepper to taste
Onions, garlic, carrots, peas and spices, ready for stock to be added. 

Rinse dried split peas until the water runs clear and pick over for any stones.
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. 
Add onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until they become translucent.
Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes,
continuing to stir frequently.
Add carrots, curry powder, cumin and 2tsp of salt cooking for an additional minute
until mix becomes aromatic, stirring frequently.
Add in rinsed split peas, stirring to combine and cook for an additional 30 seconds. 
Add in the vegetable stock and water and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Once soup is boiling reduce heat to low, 
cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1hr, stirring occasionally. 
Once the peas are no longer holding their shape and the mixture
has thickened the soup is ready.
If you find the mixture to be a bit too thick, 
add additional water or stock 1/3c at a time. 
Add additional salt and pepper to taste. 
Local carrot line-up. Just because. 

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