Sometimes, I lie on this blog.
Not by outright false statements--I really do have a husband named Mike and a weird obsession with using every last bit of cilantro. No, I lie by omission. I present a certain view of food, of cooking, of life, that's filtered through a relentlessly enthusiastic lens. This is somewhat necessary--I don't think you're interested in lackluster potato soups--but it still promotes a Lake Wobegon version of reality in which all my loaves of bread rise perfectly, I never overcook salmon fillets, and I always have time on the weekends to prepare slow-simmering soups.
I do occasionally have slow-simmering soup weekends, when I make lablabi or French onion soup. But most of the time, I have to wrestle the obstinate tail light off my car to change the light bulb, and then sort a hamper's worth of dirty laundry, and then do the grocery shopping alone because Mike is off writing computer code and eating pizza. I hate grocery shopping alone. When there's two of us, I can man the cart while Mike retrieves the can of pinto beans or head of garlic inevitably missed in the first pass. If I'm grocery shopping solo, I have to steer a bum cart with a wobbly wheel back several aisles to pick up the Parmesan cheese, which our grocer inexplicably stocks in the freezer section, on a shelf next to the chicken pot pies, instead of with its fellow Italian ingredients in the ethnic foods aisle. After the grocery shopping, there are tweets to be drafted and a lousy first draft of an article to agonize over, and photos to be edited and bathrooms to be cleaned. Having to babysit a slow-simmering soup would make me scream, if I were that kind of person, but since I'm the sort who internalizes angst I instead pick at the stress-induced eczema on my right palm.
This is a split pea soup for those weekends. There are some vegetables to be chopped at the beginning, but view this part as a meditative therapy practice. Once that's out of the way, you can just dump everything into the slow cooker. The soup you ladle out at dinnertime won't have a romantic backstory filled with thoughtful reflections about your grandma. But it will be hot and filling, and it will get you through to the next day. Most of the time, that's the best any of us can do.
That's the truth.
Recipe note: This soup is a slow cooker vegetarian version of my classic split pea soup. If you'd prefer it with meat, I'd add 2 1/2 cups of chopped cooked ham and decrease the salt to 1 teaspoon.
- 1 pound dried green split peas
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
- 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Place the split peas, onion, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, and marjoram in slow cooker. Add 6 cups of water. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Stir well before serving.