Soups

When I first married my mother gave me her copy of the book The Creative Homemaker. Or I borrowed it and never returned it. It is published by Bethany Fellowship and was written by Mary LaGrand Bouma back in the 1970s. The pages are falling out of my original copy, and many of them are stained and spattered with the ingredients of recipes made with the spoon in one hand, book in the other. In the back of the book, you see, there is an appendix with several recipes. They were some of the earliest staple foods of my kitchen.

Here is the Split Pea Soup recipe which served me for the first decade of our marriage:

A ham bone (or, I learned, some sausage, bacon, ham, or even Spam if that is what you have in your hand).
One pound dried, split peas
One large minced Onion

3 quarts of water
salt and pepper to taste

put the ingredients in your soup pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer three to 4 hours, stirring occasionally (you can remove it to the crockpot at this point if you like). Season as desired. Remove bone when ready to serve. Ladle into bowls. Serve with hot muffins or corn bread and carrot sticks. Serves 5 or 6.

As a new bride, since it said serve with muffins or corn bread and carrot sticks, then by gumbo soup, that’s what I did. Back then this made enough for us and perhaps another couple for company, or enough for us with plenty of leftovers. I personally really enjoy cold leftover split pea soup thick enough to spread over buttered bread (some like it hot, some like it cold…)

I even used her recipe for muffins:

Graham Gems
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 stick margarine
1 egg
1 cup sour milk
1 small teaspoon baking soda
2 cups stone ground whole wheat (graham) flour)

Blend sugar and margarine, stir in egg. Add other ingredients. Fill muffin cups 2/3 cup full. Bake at 375-400 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 12.

She suggests either adding 1 cup of dried fruit to the batter, or making them plain and eating with butter and grated cheddar cheese. I prefer them with butter and cheese. Yes, both. She says if you preheat your oven first, you can be eating these thirty minutes after getting out the recipe, and she was quite right about that. Tasty little things these are.  I’ve since updated them to a sourdough version here (with a printable recipe card you can use to give them with a gift of muffins and/or sourdough starter).

A few years ago the HM and Granny Tea went in together and bought me a grain mill as a present for my birthday (and also Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Valentines’, Anniversary, Groundhog Day, Columbus Day, Earth Day, and the Bank Holiday of several countries to which I have never been). I picked up a copy of the book Country Beans, which explains how to use bean flours to make instant bean soups, cream soups, and other delicious bean flour dishes. I’ve shared some of them here before here, here, here, and here.

Adapting wildly from that book, this is how I made Split Pea Soup the night I originally wrote this post:

Grate four cups of carrots (we have a large bag of very big organic juicing carrots that we’re using up)
Chop an onion or two (we used red onion tonight and did only one, but we could have used more)
Chop some celery (tonight we had about a cup of celery, but could have used more)
Scrub and grate three potatoes (or about 3 cups)

Saute the onion and celery in oil or bacon grease in your large soup stock pan. Add 16 cups of water,  the carrots, potatoes, and some broth powder for flavor.
Simmer this until the vegetables are nearly done. Add garlic (remember our mantra is that any food can be improved by either more garlic or more chocolate). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil. Whisk into the boiling mixture three cups of freshly ground split pea flour (we used yellow split peas). You can use less than three, but probably shouldn’t use less than 2 cups. Continue to whisk (I ended up using the hand mixer, very carefully) until all the lumps are gone. Simmer another fifteen minutes or so, or until it doesn’t taste like raw peas anymore. You can make it early and put it in the crockpot all day, too.

This serves our family of nine very generously (although Equuschick won’t eat it), leaving more than enough leftovers for us to have for lunch the next day, hot or cold. We could have another family our size over for dinner, or we could take it to a potluck dinner in the crockpot (and we have done this before- we just bring disposable bowls and spoons when we do this). We had it tonight with toasted whole grain bread and butter on the side and had milk to drink.

You can add a hambone, some bacon, sausage, or ham to it if you like, but it’s quite filling without it. I’ve also added crumbled seaweed to it before instead of the bouillon powder, and that was very good, too.

It is rich and filling, tasting almost buttery to me.

 

November 15, 2014- I made pea soup this way:

In ghee or butter in a very large, heavy bottomed soup pan or kettle- saute 2 cups of onion and 3 or 4 cloves of minced garlic just until the onion is transluscent.

Add:

a pound of kielbasa sausage, diced, or a package of hotdogs, diced, if that’s what you have.  Or a hambone.  Or just have vegetarian soup, that’s okay too, if that’s what you can afford.

Four stalks of thinly sliced celery and

2 cups of pared and cubed potatoes (you can also use leftover baked or mashed potatoes in this soup, just add the potatoes later if they are already cooked.

Give this a good stir a few times to spread the sausage flavor around and get them browning a bit.

Add:

about 3 or 4 cups of well rinsed dried split peas and enough broth and water to fill your kettle to a level about 3 inches above the split peas.

3 bay leaves

a teaspoon of salt

four tablespoons marjoram

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer until the peas are soft.   Add water or broth if it gets too thick.

Add: grated cabbage, and grated or diced carrots- the amounts are based on what you have, and the total vegetables (including celery and potatoes should be roughly around 8-10 cups.

Add more water if needed, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Simmer until the vegetables are cooked.

This and the muffins served about 15 of us with enough leftovers to freeze for another meal when we have a crowd over.

 

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