Even though the days are still hot and dry here in So Cal (and smoky, thanks to the flammability factor of our hillsides), I instituted Monday Night Soup Night this week. With all of the excesses of the weekend (junk food, mixed drinks, pizza, wine), I figure that Monday is a good day to step back and simplify. A nice soup, with homemade bread is a good way to start of the week. This week was a simple split pea soup. I adapted from Bittman, which has become my "go to" for recipes and methods for easy meals. I really just needed the ratio of stock (home made chicken this time) to dried peas. I started off by browning some already cubed pancetta (thanks Trader Joe's!) and removing for later. Then I sweated a small diced onion, and added the stock and the peas. I let this cook for about an hour (maybe a bit more as I was multitasking), then used the handy immersion blender on it. I used the pancetta as garnish, along with some easy salt & pepper croutons made from leftover bread. It got a huge thumbs up from the family, as did my plan for a weekly soup night.
Plus, my ulterior motive... it is more often than not healthy and, especially in this economy, cheap! I also threw in an extra soup night (found some ground beef in the freezer) this week and made Cincy style chili. This time with just cheese and cornbread, no spaghetti or raw onion..... Next up will be one of my dad's other soups, besides the best soup ever described here.