Curried Two-Pea Soup with Toasted Garlic and Crème Fraîche

Split green and yellow peas are simmered in vegetable stock with Madras curry and fried onions, then topped with crunchy toasted garlic, Maldon sea salt flakes and a dollop of crème fraîche..

Curried Two-Pea Soup with Toasted Garlic and Crème Fraîche

For the Crème Fraîche

6 oz fresh heavy cream
2 oz cultured buttermilk

Gently heat heavy cream to 105 degrees (use a thermometer), then remove from heat and stir in buttermilk.  Transfer to a glass jar, cover with a napkin and allow to stand at room temperature until thick, about 24-36 hours.  Transfer to the refrigerator and age for 24 hours.  Use within 7-10 days.

For the Toasted Garlic

1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat olive oil to 325 degrees (use a thermometer) in a heavy pan over medium heat. Shallow-fry whole garlic cloves, turning frequently, until light golden brown.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic to a napkin to drain.  Sprinkle with sea salt while still hot.  Transfer garlic to a food dehydrator and allow to thoroughly dry.  Store in an airtight container up to 6 months.

For the Vegetable Stock (recipe from Gourmet magazine)

1/2 lb portabella mushrooms, caps and stems cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb shallots, left unpeeled, quartered
1 lb carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs (including stems)
5 fresh thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves (not California)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 qt water

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss together mushrooms, shallots, carrots, bell peppers, parsley and thyme sprigs, garlic, and oil in a large flameproof roasting pan. Roast in middle of oven, turning occasionally, until vegetables are golden, 30 to 40 minutes.

Transfer vegetables with slotted spoon to a tall narrow 6-quart stockpot. Set roasting pan across 2 burners, then add wine and deglaze pan by boiling over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 2 minutes. Transfer to stockpot and add bay leaves, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes. Pour through a large fine sieve into a large bowl, pressing on and discarding solids, then season with salt and pepper. Skim off fat.  Use within 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.

For the Soup (adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown)

1/3 cup split yellow peas, rinsed and picked over
1/3 cup split green peas, rinsed and picked over
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
toasted garlic
crème fraîche
Maldon sea salt flakes

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onions and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add curry powder, stir and cook 1 minute.  Add peas, vegetable stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 1 hour.

Use an immersion blender to partially purée the soup, then stir in chopped parsley and season to taste with black pepper.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and dress with a dollop of crème fraîche, crushed toasted garlic and sea salt flakes.

This post is in support of Meatless Monday, whose goal it is to goal is to help reduce
meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

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Homemade Seitan

Seitan [SAY-tahn] or “wheat meat” is a long-popular vegetarian meat substitute, known for its ability to look, feel and taste like the ingredient that it is replacing.

I am not a vegetarian pour le moment, but I do recognize healthy (if you’re not gluten-restricted, that is), tasty protein when it crosses my plate. Unfortunately, the cost of store-bought seitan is increasing as fast as the economy is tanking.  Let’s see if we can make our own with a little lot of help from Isa Moskowitz over at the Post Punk Kitchen.

Vital wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast flakes (not active dry yeast), garlic, ponzu, soy or tamari, tomato paste, vegetable broth and lemon zest.

Combine the flour and yeast in a large bowl and the rest of the ingredients in another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, combine then knead by hand 3-5 minutes. Dough will be spongy, but not very sticky.

Roll the dough out into a log, then cut into equal sections roughly 1/2 inch thick. Put the pieces into the still-cold broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour.

Let cool in the pot another hour before using. Stored in its broth, the recipe-ready seitan will keep in the fridge for 5 days or so.  Stay tuned for more tasty things made with our own seitan (why, here’s one example already, and hey, its darn good!).

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