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Tonight at the Comfort Food Diner: split pea soup with home-made bread

I was planning to make split pea soup for tonight’s dinner. It’s almost autumn and it’s been a while since I made one of my weekly soups. At some point this morning it occurred to me that I really ought to make some bread to go along with it so I got a basic bread dough going.

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A few notes on pea soup.

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At the heart of a good pea soup, at least in my mind, is some kind of smoked pork bone. Yes I know it’s possible to make a tasty pea soup that is purely vegetarian and I’ll leave you to work that out if that’s what you like. Some people make pea soup a few days after a ham dinner, using a nice big ham bone for the soup. I was at Starsky’s the other day and I saw they had some smoked spareribs so I bought a piece – a little more than half a strip, which I cut up and cooked with the soup.

I start pea soup like I start a lot of soups, with onions and celery and carrots. I gently sautee them together with a little really good olive oil, adding some smashed and chopped garlic and salt and pepper along the way.

There are two kinds of split peas, green ones and yellow ones. I’ve used both and I’m happy with either. Some folks like one or the other better and I say use the kind you like best. I didn’t have homemade stock so I added some from a box to my veggies, then add the peas. I think I used about 2 and a half cups of yellow split peas and it seems about right. I think you can get away with less but your soup won’t be as robust. I added in the ribs, cut in 3 pieces, and I simmered the whole business for a couple hours. I checked the seasoning and let it cook a little longer while my bread baked.

Right now the house smells wonderful. The bread is cooling. The soup is ready. We’re going to have a very tasty dinner tonight.

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