I've been sick for over 2 weeks now, and am starting to forget what it is like to feel healthy. Browsing through my hand-written recipe book i decided this green soup was just what i needed. It is the perfect winter soup, using ingredients you might still have in your garden (admittedly i used my last leek a couple of weeks ago, and also opted for spinach from my green-grocer, rather than harvesting silverbeet this time). The green split peas add body to the soup, and the ginger helps make it feel quite restorative.
The eponymous Heather was a flatmate of a good friend of mine. One time when i was visiting, i was lucky enough to be served this soup for lunch. As i know i've mentioned several times before, i'm a fan of foods green (so long as that is their natural colouring!), and having thoroughly enjoyed the soup, Heather kindly provided me with the recipe. She noted that you can, of course, chuck in any green veges you may have lurking around that need using up - that half a broccoli head can be chopped up and added in, or you could use up that last half cup of frozen peas that have been sitting un-noticed in the freezer for a while. That is what i love about a soup; really there are no hard and fast rules.
If you are a person who loves a velvety smooth soup, this may not be a soup for you; it is a soup that retains a bit of texture despite the blending. Or you could try cooking the split peas longer so that they start getting a bit mushy, and the end product would probably be a bit smoother. However once you have added the green vegetables don't cook it too long, or you will lose the lovely vibrant green colour.
I wouldn't try freezing this soup; i think most green soups are best eaten fresh. If you freeze and reheat you are likely to lose some of the vibrancy of colour, and maybe some of the goodness as well. As you can see from the photo below, i was so focused on eating my soup fresh (for maximum restorative benefit) that i nearly forgot to take a photo. I'm feeling healthier already.
Heather's Green Soup
1 cup split green peas
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
knob of fresh ginger, minced
olive oil for frying
1 leek, white and green parts finely sliced
250g spinach (leaves and stems) or silverbeet (leaves only), roughly chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Rinse the split peas and place in a large pot with plenty of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, fry the onion, garlic and ginger over a low heat until the onion is translucent and soft. Add the finely sliced leek and continue to fry over a low heat.
Drain the split peas and place back in the pot with the vegetable stock. Bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer once more. Add the contents of the frying pan.
Steam the spinach over a pot of water until wilted. Add to the pot of soup, then blend in a food processor.
Reheat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.