Split Pea and Spinach Soup
There are as many variations of pea soup as there are colors in a painter’s palette. This isn’t your garden-variety pea soup. The fresh baby spinach leaves and fennel, along with a classic split pea soup base, will be most pleasing to your palate.
When fresh peas are not available, or when you want to enjoy a starchier, hardier flavored legume, dried peas are the perfect choice. Dried peas are available any time of the year and they make a wonderfully hardy, and nutritious soup. It is a nice culinary change of pace as the seasons change from winter to spring.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped fennel bulb (about 2 small bulbs)
1 large onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup dry white wine (divided)
1 pound dried green split peas
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add fennel and onion, and sauté 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds over medium heat.
Reduce heat to simmer and add ½ cup wine. Simmer 2 minutes. Add split peas, fennel seeds, thyme, bay leaf, and 7 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes (stirring occasionally).
Add remaining ½ cup wine and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until split peas are tender. Stir in spinach, and cook 2 minutes more. Remove bay leaf and purée soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender if you have one) until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and serve with fresh bread rolls hot from the oven.
See Chef Randy’s food blog for more recipes at: http://valleyvegetarian.blogspot.com