Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
Adapted from Everyday Foods
I really love this vegetarian version of split pea soup. This soup has so much flavor on its own without having to depend on smoked turkey drumstick (or smoke ham shank) for flavor. This recipe will make a very large quantity. You can either cut the soup recipe in half or you can make the full recipe, portion it into containers and freeze it. Since this soup is vegetarian, I even have this soup for breakfast, and again for dinner the same day. It's that delicious and good for you!
2 pounds dried split peas, rinsed well and drain
4 quarts water (16 cups)
2-1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 extra-large potatoes)
1 pound carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
3 medium-size red bell peppers, seeds and membrane discarded and finely chopped (1:3.1 pounds)
2 large yellow onion, finely chopped (1:6.0 pounds)
2 large celery stalks, finely chopped (5.1 ounces)
4 large garlic cloves, finel minced (0.8 ounce)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 large dried bay leaf
3 to 4 teaspoons salt or to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper or to taste
Combine all the ingredients, except the salt and ground black pepper, into a 10-quart or larger stock pot. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat (Pb on induction cook top). Reduce heat to a simmer (2.4 to 2.0 on induction cook top) and cook for 3 hours, covered, stirring occasionally and skimming away foam from the surface as needed (I don't bother with the skimming, if you stir occassionally, the foam will eventually cook out). During the last hour of cooking time, continue to stir occasionally and smashing a few chunks of potatoes against the sides of the pot each time you stir.
When cooking time is up, the soup will become thicker and peas will be cooked down. Add the salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Remove from heat. Ready to serve. Let soup cool completely before portioning soup into containers and storing in the freezer. Soup will thicken even more as it is cooling and stored in the refrigerator/freezer. You may need to add water to thin it out if it becomes too thick.
Yield about 7 quarts