For you people north of the equator it is winter (in case you forgot) and I thought you might enjoy trying this vegetarian split pea soup that is practically a meal in itself. It hasn't been too terribly cold in Japan, in fact the warm winter has caused plum trees in Kanazawa Prefecture, souhtwest of Tokyo, to blossom two to three weeks early. Still, it has been cold enough for my tropical blood and I know that Rob up in Michigan is feeling the cold, Snabby in Oregon has seen snow recently, and Old Broad down in Texas endured a hellacious ice storm - beautiful pictures on each blog, but be forewarned - the Old Broad (aka Hill Country Girl) uses some very colorful language in describing her ordeal. ;^)
Pea soup is just the thing on days like that. Sure, you can open up a canned variety, but you know it won't be nearly as good (do you really want to settle for 'onion powder,' 'dehydrated garlic', or 'spice extract'?). Using a pressure cooker this won't take so long to make. Besides, on a cold winter day, what better place to be than in a warm kitchen filled with the aromas of simmering vegetables, herbs and spices? Sure beats driving in snow or hammering a block of ice off your spoiler to get the groceries into the trunk.
Why a pressure cooker? First because the air is pushed out during cooking which saves a lot of the vitamins and flavor of the food. Second, your cooking time will be far less, and third, you'll save up to 70% of the energy you would otherwise use.
What you'll need:
* 1 1/3 Tbsp. olive oil (20 ml)
* 1 onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1-1/2 cups chopped carrots (350 ml)
* 4 cups vegetable broth (1000 ml)
* 1 cup dried split peas, sorted and rinsed (240 ml)
* 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves (5 ml)
* 1/2 tsp. ground chili pepper (2.5ml)
* 1/2 tsp. salt (2.5 ml)
* 1/4 tsp. pepper (1.25 ml)
* 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice (175 ml)
Some people would add chopped celery - feel free to improvise. Just don't add any form of meat and call it "Pandabonium's", OK?
Heat oil in pressure cooker and saute onion, garlic, and carrots for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vegetable broth, split peas, thyme, chili pepper, salt and pepper to pressure cooker. Cover and bring up to pressure. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, steam brown rice in a rice cooker, pressure cooker, or microwave rice cooker. Depending on the method, you may want to start the rice first.
Release pressure on the soup (I use the cold water method to bring it down quickly), open and stir in the brown rice. You're done. Enjoy!
I get about six servings from this recipe. Leftovers can be put into containers and kept in the refrigerator for a few days, or frozen for a couple of weeks. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave adding a little water or soymilk to get the consistency you like.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....