This was the first meal that Joe ever made for me. Well, actually he made it for my roommate, Lindsey, and I wasn’t supposed to be there… See, nine years ago, I kept asking my roommate when she was going to have her smart, charismatic, good-looking friend from college over to our apartment again. One night, Joe invited Lindsey to his place for dinner to talk to her about how much he liked her roommate (me) and Lindsey decided it would be a good idea to cut out the middle man and bring me along. She was right – it was a good idea.
Joe and I regularly eat this soup in the cooler months. It is incredibly filling (while still being low-calorie) and absolutely delicious. Often, split pea soup is made with ham, which is very salty. We don’t use ham (which keeps it very inexpensive, as well!) but we do add a lot of salt. This soup turn-the-bowl-sideways thick and goes very well with a large slice of crusty sourdough bread.
Joe’s Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
8 cups hot water
2 cups dried split green peas
1/2 cup dried medium barly
1 large white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 bay leaves
1 large potato, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
2 tsp black pepper
Protip: Get some water boiling in a kettle, so it’s hot and ready when you need it.
Heat olive oil with bay leaves until aromatic. Add onion and garlic to oil and stir vigorously to coat it all. Cover for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are clear and just barely starting to caramelize.
Add peas and barley and hot water with salt and cover for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
When the water starts to turn green and there are signs that the peas are turning soft, add the potatoes and carrots and black pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes. *Stirring is especially important when the soup starts to get thick, because it can start to stick at the bottom and you don’t want it to all splash back at you violently as the burnt bits are scraped off.* The soup is ready when the peas have completely broken down and become more or less homogeneous.
Serve yourself a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper to your taste.
This soup tastes good reheated, too: add a little warm water with the soup in a saucepot and stir frequently on low heat.