Split-pea soup is another one of those foods I was never very fond of. The delicate flavor of the peas was always overpowered by the seemingly-requisite ham bone (and occasionally, a few chunks of meat as well). Still, I somehow ended up with a jar of dried split peas in my cupboard. This is odd, because I have no recollection of buying the aforementioned peas (Other than a few pantry staples, I generally only buy what's necessary for foods I plan to cook during the following week).
Along with the peas, I also happened to have this cookbook by Diane Phillips checked out from the library (I've actually gotten it a few times. The book has some good recipes). That it had a recipe for a vegetarian split-pea soup that included lentils (remember how I'm trying to be comfortable cooking things with and without meat?), and everything just seemed to come together from there.
I made the soup, and the result was... really good. Amazing, in fact. I don't typically find soup exciting under the best of circumstances. But this, I'll make again. I brought some to work for lunch today, and it's even good reheated. It tastes sweet like onion and carrots, and delicate like fresh peas. And, you make it in the slow cooker (though it can also be simmered on the stove, of course). I love being able to throw nourishing food into the pot and being able to leave it alone for a few hours while I do other things.
I did make some necessary adjustments to the recipe though, mostly because the grocery store I went to didn't have yellow split-peas (I know where I can get some next time), so I used more green ones along with 1/4 c french lentils. The result didn't look very confetti-like, but that was my own fault. I also ended up halving the recipe, because my slow cooker is small and I wasn't sure how much I'd like this meal. Next time I'll make much, much more.
vegetarian split-pea soup (this is the 1/2'd version)
adapted from Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever, by Diane Phillips
olive oil (enough to saute veg)
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 t crushed thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 c green split peas (or 1 c green, and 1/2 c yellow)
1/4 c dried red lentils
1/4 c french lentils (the little black ones)
4 c vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
On the stove, in a sauce or frying pan, brown the vegetables in olive oil and add the thyme, salt, and pepper (probably not as much salt as you'd normally do for bean dishes, because there will be salt in the vegetable broth. If you're unsure, add less at this point. You can always add more later).
Scoop the vegetables into the slow cooker and add peas, lentils, bay leaf, and vegetable broth. I found it necessary to give everything a good stir at this point, because the peas were sticking to the sides of the pot. Put the lid on (of course), and cook on high for 4 hrs, or low for 8 hrs. Check on it about an hour before it's supposed to be done, and add more liquid if the soup is looking too thick.
Eat it with a slice of garlic bread, and you'll be very, very happy.
Also, please forgive the lack of pictures. Honestly, though, you're not missing much. Though tasty, this isn't exactly the prettiest meal.