Thursday, January 28, 2010

split pea and pancetta soup

Pancetta's fermented porkbelly power means you need a lot less of it than normal weak ham, and can also get to the eating more quickly than pigfoot-based pea soups. Also, get some garlic and heat in there. 

1-2 small onions, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 carrots, diced
1-2 ribs celery, diced
red pepper flakes
0.5 lb pancetta, 1/2" dice
8 oz dried split peas
~6 c stock/water (I used roughly equal parts, with a pretty strong chix stock)
bay leaves

Sweat the vegetables in a little oil, then add red pepper flakes to taste and cook for a couple minutes more. Turn up the heat, add the diced pancetta, and keep everything stirring for a while. When the fat in the pancetta starts to liquefy, add the peas, stock/water (I just guessed at the amount--should be enough to cover by 1.5 in. at least), and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 1.5 hrs or so, until the peas lose their individuality and resolve into a generalized green medium. Then, and only then, check and, if necessary, adjust seasonings. The pancetta brings a lot of salt to the picture, so if you season too early you can really mess things up. Serve with toasted crusty bread in a bar in Amsterdam.