Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Split Pea Soup and Boston Brown Bread



I was going to make some SPLIT PEA SOUP last night and thought I would make some cornbread to go with it, but then I saw a recipe in my binder for BOSTON BROWN BREAD and thought I would try that, instead.

For the soup, in a large pot saute one large chopped onion in two tablespoons of olive oil, adding in five sliced medium sized carrots, three cubed potatoes, and eventually around five minced garlic cloves.

Add four cups of rinsed green split peas. They may clump together, but once you add in the water, it will be fine. Add twelve cups of water. Cook this for longer than you think, depending on how fresh the peas are. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. The peas should begin to break down from the shape of peas into pea mush by the time they are done. Maybe I didn't have it cooking at a hot enough temperature at first, but it took about an hour and a half. I would think usually it would take under an hour.

When the peas are done, add in one tablespoon of tamari, a teaspoon of hot pepper sauce, a half teaspoon of Wizard's vegan Worcestershire sauce, and, if you'd like, a few drops of liquid smoke seasoning. This can be found in supermarkets.

This soup is nice and bland, but various members of the family added balsamic vinegar or tamari to their bowls. I liked it just the way it was.

While the soup is cooking, make the steamed BROWN BREAD, which is really more like cake, as one of my boys commented. Or gingerbread without the ginger. My mother used to serve us this on Saturday nights, right out of a can, along with hot dogs, sauerkraut and baked beans from a can. Her night off, I guess. She would give me leftover slices of brown bread on Monday with baked beans as filling, or sometimes cream cheese, which was considered somewhat odd at the time. So I was excited to think I could make my own at home. And it isn't at all difficult.

Collect four fifteen ounce cans and remove the labels, crimp back any sharp edges around the inside of the top, and wash them. Oil them with a brush and some olive oil, or use an organic spray oil, which I found in my supermarket. Set aside.

If you have a pressure cooker, use it. Add a couple of inches of water to the bottom, and place a steamer basket down at the bottom, which the filled cans will sit on. Start the water heating in the cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can use a pot big enough to hold your four cans. Add enough water that will eventually rise half way up the cans once you put them in. It will take an hour and a half to cook in a regular pot, as opposed to half an hour in a pressure cooker. Still, maybe your soup will also take that long.

Mix together in a bowl a cup of whole wheat flour, a cup of rye flour, and a cup of corn meal, along with two teaspoons of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt, or a little less. Make sure the baking soda isn't clumped up, and that all is stirred well together. We happened to have corn flour instead of corn meal, and made our own rye meal out of some rye berries in an old fashioned crank coffee grinder, and that seemed to work out well.

Pour in two thirds of a cup of molasses, the dark blackstrap kind, if you have it, and if I were you I would just estimate the amount, as it clings to the measuring cup, since you don't measure any oil first, there being no oil in this recipe. Add in two cups of soy or other non dairy milk to which you have added a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This will curdle it, but it is to take the place of buttermilk, and will help the baking soda to rise.

Mix all that together and pour it into the four cans until they are all no more than two thirds full. There will be just enough. Cover the cans with small squares of aluminum foil, which you can wash and reuse for the same purpose. Place the cans in the steaming pot, cover, and bring to pressure, cooking for half an hour. Or cover a regular pot and cook for an hour and a half, adding water if it gets too low.

Remove the cans and let them cool on a rack for about fifteen minutes, then slide the breads out. They each will yield about seven slices. You can eat them plain, with a butter substitute, or vegan cream cheese. Or with your soup, or with baked beans.

The family really enjoyed this meal, and I will make it soon again. And maybe I will try adding ginger next time.


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