The temperatures have steadily been dropping and today’s high didn’t get above 60º. I love hearty soups on chilly days. So here are two of my favorite soup recipes, they’re both fairly easy and they don’t require a lot of attention. You can leave them on the stove top or in the oven to cook, which leaves you to do other things like, rake leaves, pumpkin picking or watching some pee-wee football.
First on the the list is Split Pea soup. I like to use yellow split peas, for not reason really other than I like the color. Instead of ham or ham hock, I use chorizo picante. There’s several different types of chorizo, they vary in levels of spiciness and you can find raw or cured, aged varieties. For this soup, I’ve used a cured chorizo.
Split Pea Soup with Chorizo
1 lb dried split peas
1 cup chorizo picante diced
2 medium sized onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 large carrots diced
1 celery stock diced
1 jalapeño minced
3 quarts water, chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
To start, remove stones and debris from 1LB of split peas, rinse in cold water and let soak for 30 minutes. In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat, brown the chorizo. Add the vegetables and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the peas and water, turn the heat down to medium low and partially cover the pot with a lid. Simmer on medium low for 90 minutes. I usually will partially blend the soup with an immersion blender then I garnish the soup with a little chorizo and some scallions.
Next up, French Onion soup. Caramelizing onions can be time consuming and a bit of a chore. French Onion soup is normally a fairly time and labor intensive endeavor. Instead of caramelizing the onions on the stove top where they require quite a bit of attention, I’ll use the oven and add the onions in two batches. This reduces the amount of active cooking I have to do and it adds an additional textural quality to the onions. There’s a lot of onions in the recipe, so I’ll use a mandolin to make easy work of them.
French Onion Soup
5 Medium Sized Onions thinly sliced
2 Cloves of garlic crushed
2 TBS Butter
2 Quarts Beef Stock
½ Cup Brandy
a sprig each of rosemary and thyme
salt & pepper to taste
8oz. shredded Swiss, Emmentaler or Guyére Cheese
Preheat the oven to 350º, meanwhile in a deep sided dutch oven over medium high heat add the butter. When the butter bubbles, add half the onions and stir until the onions start to soften. Place the lid on the dutch oven and place in the oven and cook covered for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, deglaze the pan with ½ cup of stock then add the remainder of the onions, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Cook for another 30-45 minutes, stirring periodically. Add the brandy and the remainder of the stock and cook for another hour. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn on the boiler and add soup into ramekins. Place a thin slice of bread on each ramekin and cover with cheese. Place under the boiler until the cheese browns. Enjoy.