Monday, January 9, 2012

What's Cooking? Lickity Split

Remember how when you were little there were foods you didn't want to see, smell, or even know existed? Like those brussel sprouts your mother would steam and serve, or that unappetizing blog of green jell-o with celery, cranberries and walnuts inside ("shape" as they call it in Britain...). Well, split pea soup is what comes to my mind when I think of foods kids wouldn't want to consume, let alone be seen anywhere near. No no, I did not have a traumatic experience with the green mush as a child. In fact, I do not recall a single time in which my mother served it to us.

I believe my first encounter with the split pea was in high school in the form of Amy's Organic soup, after my vegetarian reformation. Now, years later, I've come to realize the beauty of the legume. It is low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and dirt cheap. Yup, green split peas are probably the cheapest dried bean to get in bulk. They also date back to ancient times, bearing mention in the bible and cropping up in archaeological sites. So if you want an ancient protein to go with your ancient grain, try out split peas!

Split Pea Stew
1/2 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight and cooked
1/2 cup green split peas (soaked overnight - optional)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2/3 cup vegetable stock (or just water)
15-16oz jar or can of tomatoes
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp olive oil
salt to taste

1. Saute onions and oil in a medium-high skillet until beginning to become translucent.
2. Pour in water/stock and bring to a boil. Add split peas and carrots, cooking until peas are almost fork tender.
3. Combine tomatoes, spices, and salt, cooking until excess liquid has boiled away. Serve over wheat berries!

I just barely sneaked this one into Wellness Weekends, though sadly without a photograph!
For a vegetarian twist on the classic split pea soup, check out 101 Cookbooks.

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