Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Split Pea Soup

Pumpkin display at Bowood Farms Garden Center, St. Louis, MO

I am not a fan of peas per se, and was never a fan of pea soup until a couple of years ago when a dear a friend brought me a vat of it when I was recovering from a long illness. Too tired to cook, I warmed up her soup, baked some crusty rolls, and sat down for a meal that was unexpectedly delicious. The soup, much to my surprise, was heaven! Rich and smoky and flavorful and so comforting that one bowl called for another.

I figured something this good must be the result of a well-guarded old family recipe that had evolved into such deliciousness at the hands of many generations of women leaning over soup pots testing various combinations of herbs and spices until they finally got the recipe just right. As a consequence I wondered if she'd be willing to share, and it was with great trepidation that I called to make my humble request. Was she ever! The "secret" it seemed was a Honey Baked ham bone and package of split pea soup mix! The simple recipe is on the back of the box, and calls for little more than making the purchase of both bone and mix, and chopping up some vegetables that you no doubt have in the crisper of your fridge.

When you try this, and I insist that you do, be prepared for a heady fragrance to fill your home as it begins to simmer. Be sure to get the meatiest bone offered, the butt end, if possible, and prepare yourself for some nibbling once the bone is removed and lies cooling on the plate. I dare you to resist!

I consider the soup-making ritual one of the most pleasant of all of the harbingers of fall, and consider this soup in particular as the official marker. What soups do you make and what feelings do they evoke?

Green plate:  Metlox Lotus, gift from my mother
Yellow plate:  Fiestaware, Macy’s
Orange spoon:  Fiesta Flatware, Macy's
Soup cup:  Konitz Cappuccino Cups (for which I find INNUMERABLE uses), Amazon

Konitz K103 Coffee Bar Cappuccino Cups and Saucers Set of 4

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