So, the recipe began with The Minnesota Farmer’s Market Cookbook I am reviewing for my book review blog. I will note the adjustments I made to the recipe.
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 coffee beans
- 2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3–4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 yellow onion, diced (The cookbook called for red, I don’t have any on hand.)
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil (This seemed like a lot, but I decided to trust the recipe. It is the right amount.)
- Salt and Pepper
- 1⁄2 cup white wine (The recipe calls for vermouth, but I didn’t want to buy something when I had white wine which worked perfectly well.)
- 2 cups yellow split peas
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
Heat the olive oil, add the thyme, red chili peppers, and coffee beans. Add chopped yellow onion, salt and pepper, two bay leaves, and smashed garlic. Add salt and pepper. Cook on medium low until onions are tender, but not caramelized.
Add white wine and turn heat to medium. Cook ten minutes or so, until alcohol is cooked off.
Toss in the split peas, salt, pepper and water and turn heat up to a low boil for about an hour to 90 minutes until the peas are tender. Check frequently, stirring so it does not burn or stick to the bottom.
Using a slotted spoon remove the bay leaves and coffee beans and let cool. The book does not mention doing this, but it just makes sense. However, I missed one coffee bean (it must have been a small one) so it got blended up in the blender, hence a few tiny brown flakes in the soup. This was not enough to ruin the soup, but I think blending all the beans into the soup would be a disaster.
Blend in batches in a magic bullet, blender or with immersion blender.
So this soup is magical, rich and creamy with no dairy, smoky and rich in flavor without bacon or ham. Those coffee beans were an intriguing idea and they worked a treat. The splash of balsamic vinegar gives it a fresh and light lift that is what you taste first before it deepens to the smoky umami of the peas and ends on the gentle heat of the peppers.