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Smithsonian-Inspired Split Pea Soup

January 22, 2011

When I graduated college, I interned for the Smithsonian in the exhibit design office, and hung around long enough that they decided to hire me. An extraordinary experience, especially since the two offices that I worked in were very high-profile, but the pay was a bit, well, awful. Barely able to afford rent, Fee and I spent alot of our time scrimping on our food expenditures, so much so that I dropped a dress size by my brother’s October wedding– and my 22 year old body couldn’t really afford to lose weight. To remedy the situation, I began looking around for affordable lunch options that diversified my ingredient consumption, voila the employee soup deal. For about $2, I think, I could get a bowl of soup with a side of bread. The homemade soups varied each day, and there were always vegetarian options. My favorite soup was the vegetarian split pea, and anytime I see the soup, I get flashbacks to using my Smithsonian ID to sashay past the tourists and gain entrance to the staff kitchen. Although working in a museum solidified my desire to pursue my life-long dream in becoming a teacher, I am always grateful for that experience. And hey, AAM worked across the street, so it reminds us of our dating days! So, this afternoon to celebrate the early days we enjoyed split pea soup with pumpernickel croutons (See my thriftiness of reusing the Reuben’s ingredients? Yay, Project Food Budget!)

Instead of ham hock, I used Worcestershire sauce to give a subtle depth to the soup. You can also use liquid smoke, which can be found at fancy grocery stores. Since we don’t really go to fancy grocery stores, or big ones, I just opted for the Worcestershire.

Smithsonian Split Pea Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons.

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 bag of dried split peas (1 lb)
  • 1 box of low-sodium veggie stock (1 qt)
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, sliced
  • 2 pieces of celery, sliced
  • 1 onion, loosely chopped
  • 2 tb vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Crouton Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bread
  • 4 tb of butter, melted (or vegan substitute)
  • 1 tb basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder/salt (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400

2. Boil the split peas in the broth for 2-5 minutes. Turn down the heat. Throw in the rest of the ingredients, lower the heat. Let simmer for an hour.

3. Meanwhile, cover a baking pan with foil and  cut your bread into 2 inch cubes. Whisk together melted butter, garlic, and basil. Pour over the cubes. Toss the cubes in the butter, and try to distribute evenly. Place them on a baking sheet and cook for 15-20  minutes. Take out to cool for 30 minutes.

4. Once the split peas and other veggies are soft, pour the soup into your blender or food processor. Blend until your desired texture. I like the texture to be mixed. If it seems to be to thick, add HOT water slowly through the top of your blender/processor. However, with proportions I listed above, I didn’t have a problem.

5. Pour in a bowl, and top with split peas.

This was a great meal for all three of us to enjoy!

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 9:55 pm

    That’s one of my favorite hearty meals!

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