6 December 2010 – Split pea soup with smoked ham; persimmon and walnut salad; fried pumpkin mush

Well, I really enjoyed this dinner, simple though it was.

I made the soup yesterday (Sunday) to give it a chance to thicken, and also for the fat to rise to the top and gel so I could remove it. It has four ingredients, including water. Here’s the recipe, which is based on a cookbook insofar as I used their proportions of water to split peas, and in no other way. It’s a veggie cookbook… so anyway, this is what I did:

The basic recipe:

Boil a pint of split peas, 2 1/2 quarts water, and a bunch of pork hocks, till peas turn soupy. Cut off good meat and return to the soup, discarding fat and bones.

The ‘fleshed out’ recipe:

Pick over 2 cups of green split peas to find any rocks or other interlopers (usually few – legumes are very clean nowadays) and rinse the peas well. Place in a large (I used a 6-qt but that just barely did it) pot with 2 1/2 quarts of water and a bunch of smoked pork hocks.  I used one rather large packet of pork that had three pieces in it and cost $7. Sorry didn’t look at the weight. Stir to break up the peas, which will clump when water is added. Add one bay leaf (it’s not obvious that this added anything but it may have). Boil till done – at least an hour. The peas will dissolve and make a thick soup. Remove the meat and let cool, then carefully cut off the edible bits (most of it is bone or fat, which can be discarded or fed to some very happy pet if you do that), cut into bite-sized pieces  and return to the soup. At this point tap the meat chunks down into the soup, and let the soup sit till cool enough to refrigerate.  The point of tapping down the chunks is so they will be below the fat, which rises to the top and can be skimmed off after the soup is refrigerated. When the pot is cool enough, chill the soup overnight. Before reheating, skim off the fat (there was maybe 3/8 inch on this one) and discard. I did not add salt – the meat added enough by itself. That really is it: water, peas, meat, bay leaf. Delicious soup!

Salad: read leaf lettuce, fuyu persimmons (the hard ones – do I have the name right?) and walnuts, with olive oil, raspberry vinegar, salt and pepper dressing. D may have invented this, or at least had it somewhere and recreated it. It’s quite delicious!

On Sunday I cooked up a recipe of “Pumpkin Mush” from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham. That was from some leftover canned pumpkin from Thanksgiving. I was underwhelmed, unfortunately, but I did decide the rest should be made into fried mush, and this was the time. The book also had a recipe for that, which started with putting the leftover mush into a buttered loaf pan (not much mush so I used a tiny plastic container that originally held a soft cheese) and refrigerating. Following the instructions, I unmolded it (it was quite wet) and cut into about 1/2 inch slices, then fried in a Tbsp or so of very hot butter in a small cast iron pan until the sides got slightly crispy. They were good, though again, nothing to write home about.

Chateau St. Sauveur Cotes du Ventoux again – a most excellent and delicious wine. $9 at the Bowl. Sometimes I wonder why we drink anything else.

This entry was posted in Meat as a flavoring, Soup and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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