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Vegan Split Pea Soup

It's that time of year when it gets chilly and all I can think about is how many different ways I can instantly warm up. Just turning on the stove and slow-cooking all day with the aromas permeating the air, is very engaging. Today I'm taking the chill off with one of my favorites. Split pea soup! There are as many variations as there are cooks, mine spiced with a touch of curry, and sweetened with carrots and celery to round out the flavors.

The color is an inviting bright grassy green, the texture silky. The recipe is super easy, as in I throw the split peas in a heavy bottom pot and pour water, not paying too much attention to the ratio. It is not important, because the longer the peas cook with the aromatics, the more broken down, silky the texture and rich the flavor. I don't miss the bacon, garlic or onions in this version, the Indian curry powder providing just the right amount of flavor, and making it a lot easier to digest as well. Purely fat-free, I don't even sautéing the carrots and celery prior to adding the water. Time and patience allow the flavors to develop fully. Give it a whirl and make a big batch because the flavors just get better overnight and reheated over and over again.

1 pound split peas

6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

6 celery stalks, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons Indian curry powder

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium sized heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat, add the peas and fill with water to 1-inch below the rim. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the peas are broken down and tender, about 2 hours. Add the carrots, stalks, and curry powder. Add more water as is necessary and reduce by 1/3 to a velvety consistency that is not too thick or thin, about 2 hours more. Season with salt and pepper, stir a few times, cook for 15 minutes more and serve.

TIP: Do not season with salt too early on because salt gets concentrated with time and often times the dish becomes too salty. Instead wait until the soup is almost finished cooking, then season and cook for another 15 minutes or so to incorporate the salt fully.

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