Friday, January 9, 2009

Split pea soup with homemade croutons

A classic, this soup is perfect for a cold January day. The croutons take about 5 minutes to make and are about 500 times better than the store-bought kind. The soup itself takes a little longer, but it's definitely worth it!

You will need:
200 g dried peas
50 g prosciutto
1 small yellow onion, or 1/2 a large one
A large hunk of high-quality bread (definitely not kleenex bread)
Olive oil
Herbs/seeds for the croutons if desired

Rinse the peas thoroughly and let soak for about 2 hours, changing the water every so often. A minute or two before you want to start making the soup, change the water again so that the peas are covered by just an inch or so, and bring the water to a boil. The thicker you want your soup to be, the less water you should use - and remember it's a lot easier to add more water later than to take it away!

Dice the onion and the prosciutto and heat some olive oil in a large pot. When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and the prosciutto and let cook a few minutes. Add the hot water with the peas, and sprinkle everything generously with salt. Turn the heat to low, cover, and let cook about an hour or a little more if necessary.

At some point while the soup is cooking, make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 40oºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the bread into medium-sized cubes and place the cubes onto the baking sheet. When the oven is hot, place the bread inside and let bake a couple of minutes until browned and crisp.

Remove the bread from the oven and let a cool a bit. To add more flavor to the croutons, put them in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss them around to coat them with the oil. You can also add herbs or seeds of your choice to give the croutons even more flavor.

When the peas have turned to a nice mush, the soup is ready. Throw some (or a lot if you're me) croutons into a bowl and pour the soup over them. Eat up and enjoy!

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