St. Paddy's Day Green Split Pea Soup
By Bettina Zumdick
1 cup green split peas, soaked, discard soaking water
5 - 6 cups water
1 tablespoon dulse, or kombu or 1 bayleaf
½ cup burdock, diced (optional)
1 cup onions or leeks, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
½ cup celery diced
1 - 2 tablespoons sesame oil
sea salt to taste
several slices of whole wheat sourdough bread, cubed and pan fried in a little olive oil
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot and sauté the onions until glassy.
2. Add the split peas, dulse, other vegetables and water. Cook until split peas and vegetables are soft.
3. Serve with scallion garnish and fried bread cubes.
Using the highest quality ingredients makes a huge difference in terms of the flavor and health benefits of the soup. When you select split peas: look for smaller varieties with a bright green color (as opposed to pale or gray green). The bright green color indicates freshness of the split peas - they cook faster and taste more delicious. Pale green or gray green varieties are often rancid.
Taste your raw vegetables - especially the carrots and celery: do they taste delicious or bitter or bland? Choose delicious tasting vegetables for best outcome and more nutrients.
The quality of oil and salt is also extremely important: if the oil tastes rancid, the soup will taste rancid (as well as creating free radicals in the body). Please store oils for long term use in the refrigerator.
Good quality sea salt will taste mildly salty if placed on the tip of the tongue, inferior quality sea salt will have an almost stinging or biting effect on the tip of the tongue. Enjoy!
By Edward Esko
Healthy, nourishing, and delicious soups begin with a simple stock. The ingredients for stock include wakame sea-vegetable (kombu can be substituted on occasion) and dried shiitake mushroom. These ingredients are the foundation of soup and broth.
1. To prepare basic stock, place dried shiitake mushroom (one cup per cup of water) and wakame (a one- or two-inch piece per cup) in cold water.
2. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the wakame and shiitake are soft, tender, and easy to chew.
As an alternate method, soak the shiitake and wakame separately for about 1-½ hours. Slice the wakame into bite-sized strips and do the same for the shiitake. You can remove the hard stem of the shiitake and the tough spine of the wakame for ease in chewing. Add the wakame and shiitake, plus the soaking water, to cold water. Cook as above.
An experienced chef knows by taste, aroma, and color when the vegetable stock is done and ready for seasoning. This ability can only be gained through experience. I recommend that you taste your stock after about 20 or 30 minutes. It should have a clean, pure taste with a subtle hint of the ingredients used in your stock. It should not be too strong, but fresh and light. It should have a light, delicate, almost clear color. If the stock needs more cooking, meaning that the vegetables have not yet become tender, let it cook longer but sample it every five minutes or so to prevent over cooking.
By Edward Esko
Once your stock has achieved perfection (see previous blog post entitled “Basic Stock”) it is time to add seasoning. You have one of two options. You can opt for a clear broth or a more full-bodied stock. The seasoning of choice for clear broth is high quality organic shoyu (soy sauce.)
Shoyu is a rich dark liquid. It adds a wonderful slightly salty taste that blends perfectly with ingredients like wakame and shiitake. Since stock or broth is essential for health, use the highest quality natural and organic brands, such as those offered by the Natural Import Company (NIC) in North Carolina. Most of these brands are handcrafted in small batches in Japan using techniques passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. They use the purest natural and organic ingredients.
The secret to good shoyu broth is to add a small amount at the beginning, less than you think you need. You can pour directly from the bottle into the broth. I call this “under-adding.” Add less at the beginning and gradually add more if needed. After each pour, ladle or spoon some broth into a bowl for sampling. If it is fine, leave it as is. If it requires more, add more. Repeat until the broth is perfect. Remember, you can always add more seasoning if necessary, but if you over-add at the beginning; you can’t take away what you’ve added.
Properly seasoned clear broth has a light, translucent amber color and a slightly salty taste. You should be able to detect hints of the wakame and shitake. The saltiness of the shoyu should not overwhelm these subtle, delicate flavors.