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Kari's Own Pea Soup Mix

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Kari's Own Pea Soup Mix

A secret ingredient makes Kari's own pea soup mix unique.

photo ©Kari Diehl, licensed to About.com
The great thing about following the Swedish cooking adage, "Use what you have," is that not only does this often save money, but sometimes it also leads to an incredibly good new recipe. Star anise is the secret ingredient that gives this yellow pea soup an unexpected but fabulous flavor.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • For Basic Pea Soup Mix:
  • .
  • 1 lb. whole dried yellow peas
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • .
  • Additional Ingredients Required for Soup:
  • .
  • 4 plus 8 cups water
  • 2 finely chopped onions (2 cups)
  • 1 large chopped carrot (1/2 cup)
  • 2 to 3 meaty smoked ham hocks

Preparation:

Pour 1 lb. whole peas into a quart jar. Combine star anise (available at most Asian grocery stores), thyme, ginger, salt, and pepper in small plastic baggie; seal and add spice packet to jar. Tighten lid on jar and attach the following instructions:

Rinse and pick through 1 lb. dried yellow peas, then soak overnight in 4 cups water.

Rinse the peas again. Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water. Add the peas, 2 finely chopped onions, 1 large chopped carrot, and smoked ham hocks.

Bring to a boil, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer over low heat for 90 minutes.

Skim off any pea skins that have risen to the surface. Remove 2 to 3 cups of the soup, puree in a blender or food processor, and return puree to the pot to thicken the soup (alternatively, simply use an immersion blender in the soup pot itself briefly to break down some but not all of the peas, taking care not to hit any ham hocks or bones).

Continue to simmer for at least 30 more minutes; another hour or more won't hurt it.

30 minutes before serving, remove the ham hocks. Discard the fat and chop the remaining meat (it should amount to about 1 cup) and return to pot. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup into a smooth puree.

Stir the spice packet into the soup (3 star anise, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper). Simmer 15 more minutes. Remove star anise and serve.

Yield: 6-8 servings of Kari's Own Yellow Pea Soup

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