It’s a cold winter evening and the smells of the evening meal cooking on the stove fill the kitchen. It’s hard to beat a hot and hearty soup at the end of a winter’s day. Tonight it is a soup that often appeared on the table the first night of every retreat, rain or shine. It was a consistent friendly welcome to old-timers and first-timers. It always seemed to say “the retreat has begun”!
Even though the retreat size tonight is four hungry monks, we still enjoy the meal in the dining hall that has been visited by so many over the years. Tonight we continue the tradition of a warm and welcoming soup to support those whose life is dedicated to Practice. Included in these practitioners is a very far-flung Sangha and all who are reading this. We invite you to join our meal.
Split Pea Soup
3 3/4 cups split peas, rinsed (about 1.8 pounds)
10 cups hot water
2 1/2 cups (1/2 lb.) carrots, diced in ½-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups (approximately 3 stalks) celery, chopped in ½-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups onion, minced
3 largish garlic cloves, grated
1 1/4 tsp. marjoram
1 1/4 tsp. basil
a heaping ½ tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 3/4 tsp. salt
- Rinse the split peas and place them in a large pot. Add water.
- Bring to a simmer, cover loosely and cook until disintegrated or until they are as disintegrated as they are willing to get – about one hour, skimming any foam that develops. If they do not disintegrate completely, puree.
- In a separate pot, sauté all the other ingredients, loosely covered, and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about a half-hour. Add some of the split-pea liquid (not with actual peas in it) and simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
- Combine the cooked vegetables with the peas. Add water as needed to provide the soup consistency preferred. Serve hot.