As I look back to when I was much younger, I am reminded that my mom would always have comfort food for dinner, especially when it was cold, rainy, windy, or snowy outside. To me comfort food is like a big hug, which just wraps its arms around you, and makes you feel safe at home. I recently found a photo of my brother Chris and myself when we were very young.
|1964-My brother Chris and myself|
These would be the days that comfort foods were definitely needed. Some of my mom’s favorite foods that she would prepare for us would be lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas, plus many other hearty vegetables. These meals were sometimes mixed with pasta, like the lentils and chickpeas, and the dry peas were made into a very thick and hearty nutritious soup. It was a lot of work to cook homemade food, rather than using a can or jar. My mom knew that it was worth the extra time to eat and enjoy a healthy meal that was made with love. Speaking of soups, I just found out that the second week in November is “National Split Pea Soup Week.” So, stay a while and let’s explore some information that you may not know about split peas.
It is a food holiday that is only celebrated in the United States since 1969. But split pea soup recipes in some form or another are enjoyed all over the world. North Dakota and Montana farmers grow 84% of all the dried peas, making them our top producers in the United States. Pea soup is made from dried peas. Many cultures have variations of this soup. The color of many varieties of peas comes in a grayish-green or yellow color depending on the region they are cultivated in. Pea soup has been eaten since antiquity. According to a source, the Greeks and Romans were cultivating this legume about 500 to 400 BC. During that era, vendors in the streets of Athens were selling hot pea soup.
“Pea Soup” usually means a perfectly smooth puree. “Split Pea Soup” is a slightly thinner soup with visible peas, pieces of ham and vegetables. This is done by using dried, green split peas. As consumers become more aware of the tremendous health benefits of peas, we are encouraged to eat this popular staple food and share it with our friends and family. So pull out those cookbooks and try a new bean recipe, or cook a nice pot to share with your whole family.
1. Peas, lentils, and chickpeas are excellent sources of fiber.
2. Peas, lentils, and chickpeas are a good source of protein.
3. Peas and lentils are fat-free, and chickpeas are low in fat.
4. Peas and lentils are sodium free & chickpeas are low in sodium.
5. Lentils and chickpeas are a good source of iron and potassium.
6. Peas, lentils, and chickpeas are all gluten-free ingredients.
My recipe this week, you guessed it, “Split Pea Soup”. For starters, you need a meaty ham bone. So the next time you buy a ham on the bone, save the bones, or freeze them and when you have enough, make this wonderful rich thick soup, that will leave you warm inside and asking for more.
“Split Pea Soup”
Serves 10 to 12 people
1 pound of split peas, washed and sorted
3 quarts of water
1 large ham bone
4 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of fresh oregano or dried
2 teaspoons of instant chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cups of sliced carrots
3 cups of finely chopped celery
In a deep pot, combine the peas, water, ham bone, onion, bouillon and the
Seasonings. Simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the ham bone and trim off all the meat, chop it finely and return the meat to the pot. Stir in the carrots and celery and simmer the soup, uncovered, for about 2 1/2 hours or until the soup is thick.
Serve with hot crusty bread and a crisp green salad.
Till Next Time……
Copyright © 2013 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved