[NOTE: This recipe has been edited, Saturday 12 April 2008, since a recent comment indicates the warnings about it being spicy and that the chiles could be omitted were overlooked. Additionally, I have made a note that the cloves could be reduced in number. This is a soup, as is conventional, made from DRIED split peas and I have made that clearer below. Also, I have emphasized that the soup IS a thick one and that you will undoubtedly need to add more liquid as it goes along (depending on your pan, your heat) and perhaps some at the end to thin it out to a consistency coincidental with your personal taste.]
This is a great soup for gusty March evenings.
Rarely a week goes by, except on the hottest of summer days, that we don’t have this soup at least once. Sometimes we serve it with dumplings (added in the last 20 minutes before serving), sometimes with crusty bread. As usual, you’ll note it is a bit on the SPICY side - that’s to our taste. You can be more conventional and OMIT the chiles if you prefer and cut down on the cloves. But for us, that extra zing is what for us sets our version ahead of the rest :)
We made a big pot of this and had some last night. (The soup has the virtue of freezing well.)
YELLOW SPLIT-PEA SOUP
8 cups vegetable stock (homemade if you have it)
1 cup carrots, grated (a couple of carrots, depending on size)
2 large ribs of celery, very finely diced
1/2 brown cooking onion, very finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dried yellow split peas
3 bay leaves
7-10 whole cloves (or to taste)
a few grinds black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced (or use a tsp dried)
crushed chiles to taste (we use 1/2 - 1 tsp, depending on our mood)
1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
Garnish: minced parsley
Put all ingredients in your soup pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 50 - 60 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Check from time to time to stir and make sure the soup doesn’t stick on the bottom of the pan. Add more liquid if needed - and yes, you will need to do this (I always do or it becomes more like a dhal than a soup).
When soup seems done to your satisfaction, taste for seasoning. Remove bay leaves before serving, Garnish with parsley.
We had ours yesterday with some lovely home-made quick bread.