Last week was the big kick off party to declare 2016 as the International Year of Pulses. The world has come together to celebrate pulses as an economic, sustainable, nutritious, and delicious food source for this entire year (IYP2016 as designated by the UN). There are so many food cultures around the world that utilize pulses as either the main source of protein or as a great supporting dish alongside a main. This makes me really excited, because there are literally a world of possibilities when it comes to cooking with pulses.
I was raised to eat a mainly meat based diet but through the years my diet has evolved, both by choice and circumstance. I love to eat a variety of proteins but meat is sometimes really expensive! It saves a lot of money if we can eat a pulse based meal once or twice a week, plus we can share in a meal with our daughter by making it completely vegan.
Yesterday I got my first (of 10) email newsletter regarding the pledge that I took to eat pulses at least once a week for the next ten weeks. I was excited to see that the pulse star of this first week are split green peas because they are one of the easiest pulses to cook.
Today I have a trio of recipe posts featuring green split peas. Two of them are for Split Pea and Ham soup; one using a stove top preparation and the other using a slow cooker. The last recipe is for Spinach and Split Pea Mash is as found in Vikram Vij’s Vij’s At Home Cookbook. All three are delicious in their own way but the Spinach and Split Pea Mash is my favourite because it is so different and unique.
This Ham and Pea Soup was made using a ham bone and juices, water, pepper, bay leaves, and green split peas. I put the ham and juices in a stock pot, covered it with water, added the bay leaves and brought it up to a slight boil. I let the stock simmer for a couple of hours, then removed the ham bone and bay leaves. I divided the stock into portions for freezing and immediate use. The directions on the split pea container were to use two cups of split green peas for about 7 cups of liquid and boil until they became soft. Pretty basic. After all the peas were soft, I blended the peas a bit using my immersion blender and added some left over ham and some fresh green peas. Easy peasy.
The slow cooker version of Ham and Split Pea Soup was part of a post I did outlining the importance of always having a ham in the freezer and the most economic way to use it to feed your family. I love the way you just layer the ingredients in the slow cooker and forget about it for 8 hours. This version was quite a bit chunkier than the previous version I made and my family enjoyed the large bits of ham that I left in. And finally, the delicious Spinach and Split Pea Mash from Vij’s At Home. This isn’t your regular mash…it’s kicked up with spinach, onion, garlic, jalepeno, and accented with dried mint and sumac.
Stay tuned for another split green pea recipe coming up soon!