In Autumn, I want hearty, rich foods - foods that will stick with you and help to fortify you against the bracing cold that comes with shorter and darker days.
I want hearty sourdough breads, roasted root vegetables, soups, stews and earthy pulses, cooked until soft and fall-apart tender.
Split peas, like all pulses, are simple, affordable and versatile foods. They're hearty, immensely satisfying and mercifully light on the budget.
Split peas marry well with cured pork like bacon and ham, which is why you see them paired together so often in northern European cooking. But, even more than a natural pairing, the satisfying nature of split peas - made that way by plenty of protein and fiber - helps to extend the meat you use, so that you can use less meat, which allows you to afford higher quality meat, all while maintaining that same sense of delicious, satisfying and affordable meals.
Split peas are particularly rich in trace elements, like molybdenum, manganese, copper and phosphorus as well as B vitamins like folate and thiamin.
Split Pea Purée with Roasted Root Vegetables
For the Split Pea Purée
For the Roasted Root Vegetables
- Rye bread
- Thinly sliced ham
- Dump the split peas into a bowl, cover them with warm water and let them soak at least four and up to eight hours. Drain, and rinse well.
- Toss the peas into a medium pot, cover with stock. Bring them to a boil over high heat, then turn down the heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the peas are tender and cooked through. Turn off the heat, replace the lid to keep them warm.
- Heat the oven to 425 F.
- Toss the carrots, parsnips and celeriac in a large bowl with olive oil, stirring them until they're evenly coated. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet, and season them generously with salt. Roast them for 20 minutes or until cooked through, with their edges beginning to caramelize.
- While the vegetables roast, fry the bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a waiting plate. Stir the chopped onion and fresh thyme into the hot bacon fat and cook until fragrant and translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Transfer the onion and bacon fat, reserved split peas and white pepper to a food processor. Process until smooth. Generously adjust the seasoning of the puree with salt, and process about 30 seconds longer.
- Spoon the purée into a bowl, top with roasted vegetables and reserved bacon. Serve warm with buttered rye bread and ham.
Take the Pulse Pledge
Split peas are simple, affordable, nutritious and versatile foods. 2016 Year of Pulses, and I've teamed up with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada to share some of my favorite recipes using pulses this year.
You can join me in taking the Pulse Pledge - a commitment to eat pulses at least once a week for ten weeks. Sign up here and get tips and recipes on using pulses.