Soups are redolent of winter. When they are thick, nourishing and substantial, they need the mist of frost outdoors and family indoors to make them really satisfying.
My all time favourite winter soup is Erwtensoep. Eaten, for the first time, on a cold autumn evening in Amsterdam, it hugged my bones and made walking home in the gathering gloom like a stroll swathed in sunshine.
Erwtensoep is made from green peas and, like the best of almost every countrys cuisine, is basically peasant fare. The soup usually calls for pigs trotters, leeks , green peas , celery and hours and hours of slow cooking.
Besides the fact that these are a tall order where I live, I cant see myself cooking for 10 hours and worrying if the gas has gone off the whole day. There is an easier way to achieve something like the pleasure of this green, green soup much quicker. Try this.
200 gms dried green peas
500 ml water
2 rashers of bacon
4 spring onions/ scallions chopped fine
4 slices of salami , chopped
Sea salt or 1 tsp celery salt
Soak the peas overnight. In the morning wash them well and cook in a pressure ,along with the water, for 30 minutes . After the first whistle, reduce the fire and cook on low to medium heat.
Meanwhile take the rind of the bacon, cut into bits and sauté in a nonstick frying pan till the fat has been rendered and the pieces are slightly browned. Fry the onions in the same fat along with the bacon for a few minutes. Open the cooker, mash the peas with a slotted spoon, add a cup of water, the bacon, salami and celery salt / sea salt and cook for another 10 minutes.
P.S Can you believe it? !! India is the largest producer and exporter of celery seeds in the WORLD and we cant get a stick of decent celery nor can we get the oil, seeds or salt readily in the shops. I have been going around asking for Ajmud NOT Ajwain ...no luck.