Homemade Split Pea Yellow Soup

It has been awhile since I posted here, but I have still been up to quite a lot of baking, experimenting and cooking. Over Christmas and New Years, I had my ten year old son for an extended time, and we shared some great times together. We both made some “New Years Resolutions” which included me teaching him some weight training techniques while I decided to try to get back into shape myself. Things were going along great, including lots of working out, bread making, and even trying our hand at homemade English muffins when,  in mid February I somehow suffered an “evulsion fracture”  on a bone in my right forearm.

That put a temporary end to both the working out and bread making that required kneading. Thankfully, the injury is just about healed I think, and I can get back at it all, slowly – just in time for spring to arrive soon, I hope. Anyhow,  last night I was in the mood for making some “comfort food” and when out shopping, found some pork hocks at an irresistible price.  They were packaged as one hock, but cut in half, which was perfect for me.  I only wanted a half of one; the other I gave to my dog raw. He loves raw meat and bones and does well on that diet.

When I was a kid, my father used to often heat up a can of Habitant pea soup for our lunch, and it was something I always enjoyed. Later, I discovered I could make it myself with dried split yellow peas. It’s not got quite the same taste as the Habitant canned soup, but I still find it quite delicious and more warming.  In the past, I have made it on the stove, but last night, I decided to make it in the slow cooker and see how that would turn out. It turned out great!

Here’s the approximate (because I often don’t measure ingredients) recipe and method:

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups of water
  • 1/2 Pork Hock, skinned
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper (some may find this too much)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 large onion, minced (I would have used a one whole onion if they were medium size)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt

Method:

Poured water into slow cooker. Combined the rest of the ingredients into the water and gave it a good stir.

Turned slow cooker on to low setting for 10 hours. Shortly thereafter, I went to bed. In the morning, the scent of the soup cooking was wonderful! However, I resisted trying the soup until later at lunch, and just continued to let the soup cook. In fact, I let it cook all day on the low setting, and found it tasted better the longer it cooked for; as well the split peas ended up turning the soup into an almost thick dahl like texture which I really like. Before serving, I did give the soup a good stirring.

If you’ve got some split yellow peas and are wondering what to do, give this a try and let me know how you enjoyed it!

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Quick And Easy Pork Pot Roast

pork roast in cast iron dutch ovenI just love cast iron. I own four different sizes of cast iron frying pans, a cast iron flat griddle, and a dutch oven. For me, there is nothing better to cook in other than the stainless steel saucepans and pots for other things that I wouldn’t use the cast iron for. Well seasoned cast iron are non stick, do a fantastic job, and I love the way the food tastes.

Cast iron is so versatile. You can cook on top of the stove, or in the oven. You can take it camping with you and cook in the coals of an open fire (and sometimes when needed, placing coals on the lid for heat from above), and never have to worry about damage. They are so easy to clean, I am amazed that there aren’t more people that cook with cast iron cookware.  Perhaps it’s because they just don’t know how to care for cast iron skillets and dutch ovens. It’s not that hard, but you can’t just throw them into the dishwater with soap and let them air dry. But other than that, they are oftentimes much easier to clean and maintain that other types of cookware.

Yesterday, I had a surprise in that my ten year old son had his schedule changed so he was staying with me for dinner.  And he needed a substantial dinner, and I was not into doing a lot of dishes after. But, I had a pork roast available.

“Did you enjoy it son?”

“Mmmm Hmmm!” was the reply.

Not bad for preparing everything in about 15 minutes. I didn’t really get fancy, because I didn’t have time, but sometimes the most simplest of meals are the best. I also have to admit I did not really measure anything. It was all done “by eye.”

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. pork roast
  • 1 onion
  • 5 medium size potatoes peeled and quartered (left over potatoes are always used up the next day, maybe for breakfast and fried with bacon)
  • A couple of handfuls of baby carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano (I did not measure)
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1/2 Green Pepper
  • 1 Celery stalk

Method:

Warm up  dutch oven on top of stove with the bottom evenly coated with olive oil. As the dutch oven is heating up, peel the onion and cut into slices. Lay them in the olive oil in the dutch oven.

Prepare approximately 1/4 cup of olive oil and mix with a good sprinkling of oregano. Lots of oregano. If you like oregano, the more the better. Brush the pork roast with the olive oil and oregano, and place on top of the onions.

Peel the potatoes and quarter them. Place potatoes all around the pork roast in the dutch oven. Drizzle and brush the remaining olive oil and oregano over the potatoes.

Toss in the baby carrots.

Slice the green pepper and add it on top of the carrots and potatoes. Cut the tomato into eights, and add to the dutch oven. Slice the green pepper and add.

In an oven preheated to 350F, put the dutch oven with lid on.

Cook for about 75 minutes and check the temperature of the pork roast. If it needs more time, give it another 15 minutes.

When it is done, you will have a scrumptious dinner, all made in one cooking vessel which means there are less dishes to do, and it will taste wonderful.

I remove the roast and let it sit on my meat serving platter for a few minutes before I slice it. I then just scooped out the vegetables onto plates (you could of course, put them all in a serving bowl if you want to be all formal and stuff), and then added the sliced pork to our plates.

“Good grub” as they say in Northern Ireland.