National Comfort Food Day!
So this Monday, December 5th, is National Comfort Food day. While mac N cheese, casseroles and mashed potatoes often pop up under the Google search for “comfort foods,” the reality is if you asked 100 people what comfort food is to them you will likely get 100 different answers. My husband came up with a whole list that I would not have even thought of.
To me, Comfort food is the food that communicates welcome, home, nourishment and familiarity. For me in this season in the Pacific Northwest where the air is crisp, the rain persistent and the ground chronically soggy, my comfort food is SOUP!
I thought I would share my new favorite soup recipe called Ridiculously Good Split Pea Soup. Short side story here…
This soup really surprised me. I mean, I found it in my new favorite cookbook The Longevity Kitchen, a book in which I have yet to find a bad recipe. But I was surprised for two reasons. First off, the soup actually survived my own adaptations (which were brown lentils in place of split peas and left over rice thrown in So instead of a characteristic strange pea green the soup was a light brown. Next, I wasn’t sure how the whole deal would go over with some of my company (namely the 6, 4, and 2 year old nieces and nephews). Granted, I didn’t really care because at my house kiddos eat what they are served but still, I was expected some characteristic grimaces and typical comments of “ewww!
To my surprise the strange light brown only reflected the incredibly savory flavors that exploded from the spoon. The lentils and rice, being blended up, only added more body and earthy flavors (not to mention B vitamins, iron and fiber!). Perhaps more astonishing, all three kids LOVED the soup! And I actually mean LOVED it!
6 Year old: Thank you Cathryn for the soup. I actually really, really liked it!
4 Year Old: Hmmmm I LIKE this soup! May I have more?”
2 year old: “oh, this isn’t Yucky soup!”
Overall, the meal was a comforting experience, not only because of the warm food, but also because of those gather around the table and their grateful hearts (big and small)!
So this Monday I encourage you to enjoy favorite comfort food with those you care about. It could be your easy taco recipe, breakfast for dinner or maybe, this Ridiculously Good Split Pea Soup! Enjoy!
Ridiculously Good Split Pea Soup (**adaptations from Dietitian Cathryn)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 cup peeled and finely diced carrot
½ cup finely diced celery
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed well (**may substitute Brown or French Lentils)
8 cups vegetable broth (** or broth from ham hock)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
** 1/4 – 1/2 cup ham bits (leftover from ham hock)
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, thyme, ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and sauté for 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and split peas, then pour in ½ cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the remaining 7 ½ cups of broth. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer until the split peas are tender, about 40 minutes.
Ladle 2 cups of the soup into a blender and process until velvety smooth. (**I used my Immersion Blender and it worked like a dream!). Stir the blended mixture back into the soup and cook just until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. If needed, you may need to add a spritz of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Serve garnished with the parsley.
Variation: For a smoky flavor, add ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika or 2 dried chipotle chiles, rehydrated and minced, when sautéing the onion.
Yield: 8 serving
For more incredibly delicious and nourishing recipes by Rebecca Katz, go to her website HERE
Photo Credit from Stock Images