Whenever I profess my love for split pea soup, the other person usually pulls a face and waves their hands disgustedly and says they can’t make it past its squishy green mushy appearance. Personally I love the color green. And I love peas. And ham. I don’t understand what’s not to like. But the other day I was strolling the aisles of Three Bears and spotted yellow split peas from Bob’s Red Mill and decided to give them a whirl. It even had a split pea soup recipe on the back.
The results were neither green nor mushy — it was more of a brothy soup. Or a stewp, as my husband likes to call pots full of things that are a cross between a soup and a stew.
Very tasty! And because I was feeling energetic I decided to make some sort of bready something or other to serve on the side and I remembered that the other day I was poking around in the kitchen closet looking for things to get rid of; cooking things and stuff — accoutrements, if you will — that I’ve collected but rarely use. If it’s just sitting there on the shelf gathering dust I figure I might as well take it to the thrift store and let someone else have a crack at putting it to use. I spotted the nifty but seldom-used popover pan on the top shelf. I’m all nostalgic about popovers because my mom used to make them occasionally when we were kids & they were so good still hot from the oven and filled with jelly. Nostalgia won out over paring down the accoutrements and I decided to keep the popover pan and promptly took to the internet to find a popover recipe.
I found Ina Garten’s and headed for the kitchen, only to discover we had no butter in the fridge. The husband is a butter fiend and often polishes it off without notifying me so that I can buy more. I headed back to the internet and found one with remarkably few ingredients. Betty Crocker’s Simple Popover Recipe calls for only eggs, flour, salt, and milk. I was skeptical and wondered if the results would be heavy and wooden without some sort of baking soda or baking powder tossed in. But I needn’t have worried. They were light and fluffy and just the right amount of crunchy/crispy on the outside. Richard thought the only thing that would have made them better was a little butter but he has only himself to blame for that.
Here are the recipes, which I recommend to you, especially on fall or winter evening with either yellow leaves or snow falling gently to the ground.
Yellow Split Pea Soup
Serves six to eight
1lb. (2 cups) split peas in the color of your choice
2 quarts water (I used low sodium chicken broth instead)
1 meaty ham bone (Three Bears had no meaty ham bones — unless I wanted to buy a whole ham — so I got a ham steak instead and chopped it up)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tsp. sea salt (I don’t think I added salt. I usually don’t. Plus, I figured the ham would be salty enough)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
Sort and rinse split peas. Cover peas with 2 quarts water or broth and add ham, onion, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer very gently for 1 1/2 hours. Add celery and carrots. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. I followed these directions, but I’m pretty sure you could also toss all the ingredients into the pot at once and let it simmer till the split peas are soft.
Note: Betty has other versions posted at her website — a lighter version of this recipe, herbed popovers, garlicky popovers, lemon dill, etc..
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease 6-cup popover pan or six 6-ounce custard cups. Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth (do not overbeat). Fill cups about 1/2 full. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake 20 minutes longer or until deep golden brown. Immediately remove from cups. Serve hot.