Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Soup


Winter is the perfect time to make and eat soup. It’s warm, full of vitamins and fibres. Things we need most when outside temperatures are below freezing point. My favourite soup is tomato soup with small meatballs. In fact, I think it is most people’s favourite. Second in line is split pea soup. This is a really wintery soup: thick, smooth and really nourishing. It’s often served with croutons. And the croutons are best when they are slightly burned. They add a very nice smoky flavour to the soup. In Holland people tend to add thick slices of smoked sausage. Btw, split pea soup is called ‘snert’ in Holland. I find this quite surprising as in Flemish the word ‘snert’ is used to describe something that is really foul.
Rinsed split peas.
Last Monday our weather man Frank mentioned the possibility of heavy snowfall and frost as from Thursday night. On Thursday he confirmed that a snow depression would slide over our little country from West to East during the night. He predicted chaos on the roads during Friday morning’s rush hour. I considered myself lucky, because Friday is my day off. But to make a long story short, I did snow … a lot. And there was a lot of wind. I wouldn’t call it a blizzard, but it was quite impressive.
However, by 11 a.m. almost all the snow had disappeared and the sun was actually shining. I therefore decided to do my weekend shopping before more snow would fall. Despite the efforts of the winter sun, it was freezing cold and I had visions of a nice bowl of hot pea soup. I remembered having a pack of dry split peas in my cupboard. All I needed was some mix vegetables to treat myself to this wintery delight.
Instead of buying separate portions of the required veggies (leeks, onions, carrots, celeriac …) I chose a bag assorted pre-sliced vegetables. They may not be as fresh as the real stuff, but you have less waste and it requires less preparation time.
Yesterday afternoon I made almost two litres, which will last me for several days. Can’t wait to have another bowl later today.
Soften the vegetables in butter or oil.
You want to make your own pea soup? Here’s my recipe:
Heat some butter or oil in a large pot. Don’t let it get brown. Throw in the sliced vegetables. Let them cook gently until they are all ‘floppy’. Stir constantly so that they don’t get burned. Add the split peas which you have rinsed under cold running water for a few minutes. Stir again. Wait another minute or so before adding the water. Don’t add too much. You don’t want your soup to be too runny. Add a stock cube (I used vegetable stock, but you can also use chicken or beef stock), salt and pepper to taste. Put the lid on the pot and let the soup simmer for 45 minutes. When the vegetables are nice and soft, pour the liquid in a blender, and mix until you obtain a thick and smooth soup. Add more pepper and salt if needed and water if your soup is too thick.
Before serving, take one large slice of bread per person and cut it in 1x1 cm dices. Heat some oil or butter in a pan and throw in the bread. Keep the heat under the pan really high and stir the bread constantly. When the pieces of bread have turned really brown or even black and smoke is coming from the pan, put the bread in a soup plate or bowl and immediately pour the hot soup over it. When you hear a sizzling sound, you know your pea soup and croutons will be perfect. Enjoy!

15 comments:

Jean said...

It looks delish, Martine, I'm a great fan of home-made soup so I will be giving this one a try.

Mind you, snert soup does not sound too appetising, I think I'll just call it pea soup !!

VirginiaC said...

Your split pea soup looks delicious. I don't use vegetables in mine, so I think I will try your version next time.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Nothing beats home made soup, our favourite is my South African Butternut Soup. Earlier in the week I chucked a whole chicken in a pot with masses of veggies that I had on had, also lentils and split peas and it is lasting us for days. Real meal in one. Take care Diane

GaynorB said...

Looks great, Martine.
We eat a lot of soup in winter. My preference would be for any kind of vegetable soup, so your split pea would do just fine.

Nadege said...

Split pea soup is delicious! Actually, I am very easy to please; a good soup, salad and whole wheat bread and I am in heaven. (Diane's soup sounds really good too).
I hope the weather will warm up, but winter hasn't arrived yet so who knows?

Carolyn said...

Your split pea soup sounds delicious. Really, I could eat soup every day--along with good bread and something for dessert.

I like your use of the word "floppy" to describe how long to cook the vegetables.

Niall & Antoinette said...

echt winters erwtensoep! Quite like the sausage in split pea soup but never liked the bits of fatty pork they also add in the Netherlands.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Canada.

Anonymous said...

From Canada, eating a Pizza Hut's pizza, and wondering how is it possible for anyone in the world to make a pizza without olives on the top?

Kassandra said...

One of my winter favorites, also!!! will add sausage next time!!! And I make a big batch like you do and eat it all week and freeze the leftovers...like having money in the bank.

chm said...

When I was a young boy I dreaded the days when we would have ‘potage Saint-Germain’ a.k.a. split pea soup. I just hated it. Now, I think it’s delicious, and the croutons...!

http://www.aftouch-cuisine.com/recette/potage-st-germain-307.htm

Bob said...

soup must be on everyone's mind after reading your blog. we had a nice turkey, vegetable, and rice soup after Thanksgiving. it's hard to beat a good soup, but i also like some nice French bread, which we don't have in the US. don't croak, but i use to break up my french bread and put it in my pea soup when we lived in France. loved that hard curst!!!!!

Louise said...

Your recipe looks delicious Martine. Pea and ham soup is one of my favourites; but in 35 degree heat here in Australia gazpacho soup is top of the list!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Funny, we too made split pea soup over the weekend. We finished it at lunch today. No pictures but a great soup and memory. Walt made ours with a broth that had onions, celery, and carrots cooked in it, among other ingredients and we put cooked smoked lardons and petit sale (sorry, no accents) in the soup at the table.

ladybird said...

Dear friends and readers, I was writing some nice personal answers to your comments, when - just before clicking the 'publish' button, internet explorer stopped working, deleting all my 'witty' comments. (Honestly, cross my heart and hope to.....) I'll be back presently with a fresh and festive post. Hang in there. Martine