Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bluesette's Crew In The Soup

We haven't been sailing yet this year. February brought snow, this month Spring was showing some promise with some nice days last week, but this week we have cold weather 5°C (40°F) again and rain. It's a good time to make some of Pandabonium's split pea soup for the restless crew of Bluesette.

Some of my favorite foods are not easily available in Japan such as vegetarian chili, refried beans, or pea soup. Japanese food is great, but we all like a change once in a while. Luckily I have a source for dried organic beans and split peas (Tengu Natural Foods), so I can make my own comfort foods.

Here's how I make it - give it a try:

Hopefully, you have a pressure cooker.
Why a pressure cooker? First because the air is pushed out during cooking which saves a lot of the vitamins and flavor of the food. Second, your cooking time will be far less, and third, you'll save up to 70% of the energy you would otherwise use. But don't worry if you don't have one, you can still enjoy this soup.

What you'll need:

* 1 1/3 Tbsp. olive oil (20 ml)
* 1 onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1-1/2 cups chopped carrots (350 ml)
* 4 cups vegetable broth (1000 ml) - preferably homemade or "low sodium organic"
* 1 cup dried split peas, sorted and rinsed (240 ml)
* 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves (5 ml)
* 1/2 tsp. ground chili pepper (2.5ml)
* 1/2 tsp. salt (2.5 ml) - optional, I leave it out for my hypertension
* 1/4 tsp. pepper (1.25 ml) - careful. I'm not a fan of hot seasoning and use less, but this amount seems right to many sailors.
* 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice (175 ml)

Some people would add chopped celery - feel free to improvise.

Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker and saute onion, garlic, and carrots for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vegetable broth, split peas, thyme, chili pepper, salt and pepper to pressure cooker. Cover and bring up to pressure. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the brown rice in a rice cooker, pressure cooker, or microwave rice cooker. Depending on the method, you may want to start the rice first.

Release pressure on the soup (I use the cold water method to bring it down quickly), open and stir in the brown rice. You're done. Enjoy!

I get about six servings from this recipe. Leftovers can be put into containers and kept in the refrigerator for a few days, or frozen for a couple of weeks. The rice absorbs water over time, so when you reheat it on the stove or in the microwave you'll need to add a little water or soymilk to get the consistency you like.

Add a salad and a French baggette and you have a great lunch or dinner.

Until next, sweet sailing.


ladybug said...

This looks like a really great recipe Panda! I will have to check it out! We have a somewhat similar one from a Moosewood cookbook that uses a Miso Soup base for some of the stock. No rice in that one though. Thanks for sharing!

Zen said...

Looks good. I'm heading to Osaka in 2 weeks, if possible I can bring you a can of good veggie chili and mail it up to you...

Zen said...

I'll have to give the soup a shot!

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - it will taste great on those cool Oregon evenings. The miso recipe sounds like an interesting twist, I'll check it out. Thanks.

Zen - veggie chili would be most welcome! I'll post my own recipe for that, but you know, having something handy in a can would be wonderful when I don't have the time to cook from scratch. If you are serious and it isn't too much trouble, email me pandabonium at gmail dot com for my address. Thanks in advance! I'll find some way to reciprocate.

Do give the soup a try, it's a whole meal in itself.

old14er said...

Dragged out my seldom used pressure cooker for this one. Well done. More recipes please. For my next try I might substitute sweet potatoes for the carrots and put some ginger in as well.... but then I like food with some kick.


Pandabonium said...

Tweezerman - glad you enjoyed it. Good suggestions for variation - I like both sweet potatoes and ginger. I will be posting more recipes from time to time.