Friday, March 14, 2008

14.03.08: Pumpkin & Split Pea

The Soup Kitchen reveres Delia Smith, even when having a gentle dig at her for promoting McCain's frozen discs of mash potato as a soup thickener. But of course there are people who just don't have the time, inclination or skillz to mash! These days, Deals is driving a vehicle called How To Cheat At Cooking in which she cuts corners by incorporating readymade products into her recipes. In that spirit, I offer this interpretation of my friend Jennifer's soup, the secret ingredient of which is a 425g jar of Loyd Grossman's Jalfrezi Sauce.

To make 30 portions, you'll need 2kg of yellow split peas and a couple of pumpkins, or one big one. I saw some lovely green skinned pumpkins in East Street yesterday, but today they were gone and so I had to haggle with a wily Jamaican pumpkin purveyor instead and pay his price. Not that I minded, because his pumpkin was every bit as good as he claimed and he was grateful for all my change. Plus, with a couple of the Scotch bonnets left over from t'other day for added heat, I could (and did) claim that this soup is coming direct from JA:

1. Soak the split peas overnight and start by boiling them up and simmering for at least half an hour.

2. Finely chop a mirepoix of onion, carrots and celery, about a pound or half a kilo of each. As this soup will not be blended, it's important that the dice is small and neat. And a couple of de-seeded and minced Scotch bonnets (left), or more if you dare, but be aware that these peppers are HOT.

3. Sweat the mirepoix over medium/low heat in a good splash of oil in the bottom of your soup pot with the lid on to preserve moisture, taking it off every few minutes to stir the contents with a wooden spoon and prevent them from sticking or burning.

4. While the mirepoix sweats, peel the pumpkins, remove their seeds and dice their flesh into centimetre cubes.

5. When the mirepoix has cooked down and begun to caramelise in the bottom of the soup pot, add a dessert spoonful each of ground jeera 'n' dana (cumin and coriander), stirring it into the mixture. Then add the jar of Loyd's jalfrezi sauce and the contents of a tin of tomatoes, stirring that into the mirepoix as it continues to cook.

6. Now add the diced pumpkin, stir, cover with two litres of boiling Marigold bouillon, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Add another couple of litres of bouillon and simmer for ten minutes or so before adding the peas.

7. Now add the cooked split peas with a further two litres of Marigold bouillon, making six litres in all. Stir the soup so that it's well mixed and simmer for a further ten minutes. The soup will continue to thicken as the split peas disintegrate.

8. Check the seasoning. If you've overdone the chilli, calm down the flavour by grating creamed coconut into your soup. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander as you serve.
19 people enjoyed this soup, which was an improvement on the day before, but the experience was a lot more pleasant. A small party came in from the Buddhist Centre up the street, where Ira doesn't cook on Fridays, and one of them also tried a bowl of yesterday's left over cauliflower soup. As did Joe, because he's a bit young to appreciate chilli. Several of the Soup Kitchen regulars lingered over second bowls and wrote compliments in the dairy: 'legendary - makes me sweat in a good way.

No comments: