Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hearty Split Pea Soup And Cornbread For Meatless Mondays

Photo by EatMoreBalance.com
Recently I stopped buying canned soups.  As I said in previous posts, either my tastes have changed, or canned soups have changed.  I used to like them; now not so much.  These days I make a batch of homemade soup, eat a meal, then freeze the rest in 16 ounce containers to be nuked (i.e. microwaved) later for quick meals.  One of my favorite soups to prepare is hearty split pea.  Sometimes I make it with smoked ham, and sometimes I make it vegetarian.  Even without meat, you have a complete protein by pairing the soup with corn bread or Irish soda bread.  It's definitely a stick-to-your-ribs-square-meal.  Below are my recipes: 

Split Pea Soup

16 ounce bag of dried split peas
8 cups water
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small tomato, diced (if you have one, if not omit)
1 bay leaf
1 ½ double bouillon cubes, or 3 small cubes (contains salt, so don't add salt, separately)
1 tablespoon dried garlic
12 turns of the black pepper mill
a sprinkle of dried celery
a tiny sprinkle of red pepper flakes
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
a sprinkle of nutmeg
a sprinkle of parlsey flakes

Throw all the ingredients into a stock pot on a stovetop, bringing it to a boil, cover with a lid, then lower the heat and simmer for about one hour, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Golden Yellow Corn Bread

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt (or smoked salt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups buttermilk  You can substitute milk, Russian kefir, plain yogurt, or sour milk, whatever you have on hand will work.

Optional spice: 
12 turns of the black pepper mill
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
A sprinkle of garlic powder
A sprinkle of onion powder

1. Put all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl; follow with the wet ingredients.
2. Mix with a folk.
3. Pour into an oiled cast iron skillet and cover with a lid.
4. Cook on the stove top until golden brown. Flip over and cook the 2nd side until golden brown. (Or you can bake in the oven about 30 minutes until golden brown.)  When done in the center, remove, let cool slightly. Cut and eat.

I like the idea of meatless Mondays for several reasons.  Many of us grew up eating too much meat. Several studies suggest eating less meat can reduce your risks of preventive illnesses like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Meatless Mondays also help reduce your carbon footprint.  It takes a lot more water and fossil fuel to raise livestock than to grow vegetables and grains. So going meatless one day a week is good for your health and the environment.  With so much hunger in the world, it's a painless and delicious way to make a tiny difference.
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