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Everyday Split Pea Soup

We had this excellent soup for dinner last night.  Kathleen

                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                         Everyday Split Pea Soup

Recipe By     : Mooswood Restaurant Daily Special
Serving Size  : 8    Preparation Time :0:00
Categories    : Beans And Legumes                Potatoes

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/2  ounce         dried mushrooms
                        softened in 1 cup boiling water for 20
                        minutes -- about
   2      cups          dried split peas -- (about 1 pound)
   8      cups          water
   3                    bay leaves
   1      teaspoon      dried marjoram
   2      cups          chopped onions
   1 1/2  cups          peeled and diced carrots
   1 1/2  cups          chopped celery
                        (include some leafy tops)
   2      cups          diced potatoes
     1/4  cup           light miso -- up to 1/3
   1      teaspoon      salt
     1/8  teaspoon      ground black pepper

This is the vegetarian split pea soup for those of us who remember with
longing those bowls of thick, ham bone-flavored soup that our grandmothers
used to make.  Here, mushrooms add texture and the miso gives a rich
flavor, yet the soup's virtually fat-free!

We've made this soup with several types of dried mushrooms.  Chanterelles
have a particularly nice flavor, texture, and color with split peas.  Dried
portabellas also have a good flavor and are usually reasonably priced.
We've even made split pea soup with shiitake.  A mix is nice, too.

Split pea soup tastes great left over, but reheat it gently--miso should
never be heated to boiling.

Serves 8.  Yields 13 cups.  Preparation time:  25 minutes.  Cooking time:
1 hour.

In a large covered soup pot on high heat, combine the split peas, water,
bay leaves, marjoram, onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes.  When the soup
begins to boil, stir well, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and continue
to cook.  

Meanwhile, remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid and discard any
hard stems.  Slice or chop the softened mushrooms and add them to the soup.
 Strain the soaking liquid to remove any sediment or dirt and add the clear
liquid to the soup pot.  

After the soup has simmered for about 30 minutes, stir it well.  Maintain
on low heat with occasional stirring or place the pot on a heat diffuser to
prevent sticking and cook for another 20 minutes, until the split peas are
very soft and the soup becomes "creamy" when stirred.  Discard the bay
leaves.  Stir in 1/4 cup of the miso, the salt, and pepper.  Add more miso
to taste and serve.

NOTES : If you plan to serve the soup later, set it aside to cool a bit and
then refrigerate it.  Reheat gently before serving, stirring often to
prevent scorching.

Per 13-ounce serving:  273 calories, 16.5g protein, 1.4g fat, 51.1g
carbohydrates, 0.2g saturated fatty acids, 0mg cholesterol, 642mg sodium,
17.3g total dietary fiber.

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