Split Pea Soup and Gluten-free Cornbread

by Mary Pomerantz

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When my husband saw the bag of split peas sitting on the counter, his eyes got moist.  He told me he wasn’t sure he should get his hopes up and ask if I planned to make it.  It is his favorite soup, mine not so much.  But because I know he likes it so much, I make it once in awhile.  Split peas are one of those legumes that you can cook on top of the stove and it doesn’t take all day.  If the peas are this year’s crop, it might only take an hour for the peas to break down.  These have been in my cupboard for at least six months but we still had dinner ready in ninety minutes and had time to make a gluten-free cornbread to do with it.  He was in heaven!  All that was needed was a side of Cole slaw made with his favorite prepared poppy seed dressing.

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 lb bag of split peas, picked over for debris, soaked and rinsed
  • 8 cups low or no-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large organic carrots, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 medium or 4 small organic potatoes, washed and cut in chunks
  • 6 cups of any greens, minced in a food processor
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon no-salt seasoning, like Mrs. Dash (mine came from Costco)
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (for a smokier flavor add up to 1 teaspoon)

Directions

Put the clean peas in a large soup pot with the veggie broth.  Place the pot over a medium-high heat.  Allow it to come to a boil and then turn the heat down to low.

In a cast iron or non-stick skillet, dry saute the onion until browned and slightly caramelized.  Add the onions to the soup pot.  Put a little water in the pan to loosen any onions left in the pan and pour into the soup pot.  Cook for about a half hour or until the peas start to break down.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the potatoes are soft and the peas have almost but not quite disintegrated.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Note: It is really easy to make your own vegetable broth.  In a bag in your freezer, keep the ends of vegetables from food preparation, onion peelings, frozen vegetables that are starting to get frosty, or vegetables in your refrigerator that are past their peak.  When you are ready to make the broth, put in about half a soup pot of these vegetables, cover with water and simmer for an hour.  Strain and use!  I always make a fresh batch for every soup that I make.  If I have any left over, I either freeze it or make another soup!

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Because of a health condition, my husband had to give up eating gluten.  He is so sensitive that he can feel the effects within minutes of eating it.  It is not painful but it is uncomfortable and since adjusting his diet about 3 years ago, his health has stabilized instead of declined.  It has been difficult for me to make the changes because I have always liked to bake and wasn’t sure how to adjust recipes to this new diet.  This year at Veggie Fest, we had a lovely young lady who did two demos on gluten-free baking.  Laurie Sadowski was so knowledgeable that I bought all three of her cookbooks!  This recipe was adapted from her “Maple-kissed Cornbread” recipe in her book, “The Allergy-free Cook Bakes Bread.”  It had a nice grainy texture and tasted great.  It was pretty dense, which I didn’t mind but might not appeal to those who like the fluffy texture that boxed mixes or breads made with eggs will give you.  Thanks, Laurie!  My husband loved it!

Cornbread Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups whole grain cornmeal (I used Bob’s Redmill)
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (I used Premium Gold Gluten-free Flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil (I used olive, but the recipe called for Canola, which I don’t use)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a 9 inch square pan.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and mix just until moistened.

Spread the mixture into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting.  Serve warm.

Laurie Sadowski, Cookbook Author Extradorinaire

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