Some people have issues with food colors. Especially in their soup. I know one person close to me who have issues with food colors. That was my dad. He would not eat a squash soup. Not because he did not like squash. But because of its texture and color. It reminded him of something. A small baby. And what that baby does. And since I am talking about food here. I will not elaborate further. Because it’s just not appropriate.
I didn’t know what made him think that way. He just did. Now at 43, and after reading the book Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin, I firmly believe that my dad was a high functioning autistic person. He certainly displayed a lot of the qualities of an autistic person. High tempered. Meticulous. And very creative. I’m not saying that every person that displays this type of characteristics are autistic. This is more likely my theory after reading the book I just mentioned. And it’s probably wrong for me to theorize this way…
But, there was something about my dad…
His behavior in certain situations was a bit strange and out of the ordinary. In addition to avoiding foods of certain colors and texture. He hates to see stacked up dirty dishes. Something about the sight of dirty dishes – all stacked up, triggers a violent behavior in him. And this happened more than once.
One day he came home from the farm. I was probably about nine years old. And none of us have had a chance to wash the dishes. Now let me just tell you that washing dishes when I was little wasn’t as quick and easy as washing dishes in a civilized town or city. We had no running water. We had to fetch water using buckets, from the only faucet that serves the entire barrio, about half a mile away from our house. And during the day, the line is usually very long. And what’s worst is that, the faucet only had a trickle of water coming out of it. So to fill a two gallon bucket would take at least 15 minutes.
So like I said, that day… none of us have had a chance to fetch water and therefore have not been able to wash the dishes from the night before. So our dad came home… tired from the farm. He was carrying a large woven basket, on his back, filled with cut up wood to fire up our earth filled, makeshift stove. I could hear him outside. Sighing, puffing, and catching his breath.
“Whew! That’s stuff is heavy.”
And then he came inside the kitchen. He looked around to see where we were. We were all upstairs, playing around. As his eyes searched for us, the stacked up dishes caught his attention.
“What were you guys doing today?”
“Why are these plates still dirty?!” His voice sounded like a loud canon that has exploded. He was yelling so loud that everyone within a mile radios probably heard him.
We hurried up and huddled in the corner. Scared to death. We know we are in trouble.
“Fine if you guys cannot wash these dishes. Then we won’t be needing them!” As he started throwing them outside, one by one.
The same noise and sound were repeated each time a plate or glass hits the rocky ground.
All the porcelain plates were broken. And glass jars. All scattered outside our kitchen, on the rocky shore.
None of us said a word. I grabbed a bucket and ran. Went to fetch water.
I came back half an hour later. Dad was quietly stacking up the fire woods he brought from the farm, next to the earthen stove.
I went back outside to retrieve the pots and pan. They were made of iron and survived.
From then on… we ate and drank from plastic plates and glasses. So next time he throw them out, they won’t be broken. They’ll just be scattered outside. We could retrieve them. Wash them. And still use them.
It’s starting to get chilly at night. In the low 50’s at night and early morning here in Texas. So I am gearing up for the cold and chilly winter.
I will be making plenty of heart and bone warning soups. And might do more baking too.
As for this soup… these beans do not require soaking. And takes less time to cook compared to any other dried beans. So I can have this bone warming, highly nutritious soup in an hour.
This is a main dish soup that can stand alone as a meal. Rich in fiber and protein. And requires minimal time and efforts to make. With simple and accessible ingredients that deliver superior taste and nutrients.
This soup keeps in the refrigerator for several days. Just reheat a portion when you need some.
For those of you who would like to enjoy this hearty delicious soup, here’s what you’ll need and how to make it…
Please note that this recipe is for a large pot of soup and will serve a whole neighborhood. So if there’s only a few of you in your household, only use half a bag of each beans – about one cup of each – split peas and lentils.
Green Split Peas. One 16 ounces bag. Sort through the beans and remove foreign items such as small rocks and dried out beans.
Dried lentils. One 16 ounce bag. Again, sort through the beans and remove foreign items such as small rocks and dried out beans. Just what you’ve done with the split peas.
And… you’re going to need these… 12 ounce salt pork, one large red onion, 4 or 5 garlic cloves, and 4 or 5 jalapeno peppers.
Smash, peel and chop the garlic. Chop the onion. And cut the stems off the jalapeno peppers; slice and dice them. (If you want less heat, removed the ribs and the seeds.) The heat usually resides in the ribs of the jalapeno peppers and that’s why I kept them here. You know me…
And these… herbs.
And this… 4 cups chicken broth. Packaged, canned and or home-made.
And this – coarse gray sea salt. My favorite salt in the world. Especially for soups. Excellent for soups. We buy them by the sack. Twenty pound sack. It’s cheaper this way. And it last us a very, very long time.
And of course spices. Ground black pepper and ground hot pepper. You know me and my family. We love hot and spicy foods. Sweat inducing hot for my husband. Medium hot for me and Ramon.
Oh yeah. I almost forgot. One pound thick cut bacon. Cooked until crispy and drained on paper towels. And then crumbled to top each bowl of soup. This step right here makes a big difference in taste. It determines if I want to have second bowl or not. (Sorry. I forgot to take a picture of bacon cooking in a skillet. But I’m sure you get the picture.)
So after the beans have been picked over. I washed them under cold running water. In a fine colander sitting inside a large bowl. Wash them several times until water runs clear like this. At first the water is going to look a little dirty and brownish. So just keep washing and draining until it’s clean like this… Finally, once it’s looking might clean. Strain the beans and sit aside.
Slice the salt pork into 1/2 inch thin slices.
Heat a large, deep pot over medium high heat and add the sliced salt pork.
Cook salt pork until it’s nice and slightly crispy. And has rendered most of its fat. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. (Save the extra rendered salt pork fat in a glass jar and refrigerate for future use.)
Once the salt pork is cooked and beautiful like this. And after removing most of the rendered fat, add the onions and garlic. Saute onions until translucent.
Once the onions are good and translucent…
Add the chopped jalapenos. And saute jalapenos for a few minutes until slightly cooked.
Add the washed split peas and lentils. Stir.
Add to the beans: 4 cups chicken + 6 cups filtered water.
Stir the beans mixture. Cover the pot and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. This will take about 15 – 25 minutes.
Once the beans comes to a boil, skim off the foam.
Add the herbs: dried basil, dried thyme, 2 bay leaves and ground cumin.
Stir mixture and reduce heat to medium low.
Cover pot and simmer beans until cooked and tender, about 50 – 60 minutes.
Once the beans are cooked and tender, remove the salt pork and bay leaves using a slotted spoon.
Puree the soup with a hand held blender. Or scoop half of the soup into a blender and puree. If using a blender, you may have to puree the soup in two batches, depending on how much your blender can hold. Since the soup is extremely hot, you can only fill the blender halfway to be able to safely puree the contents.
Add back the salt pork and bay leaves.
Taste the soup. If needed, add sea salt one teaspoon at a time.
Add ground black pepper. And ground hot pepper if using.
Keep the soup simmering over low heat. Stirring occasionally until ready to serve.
Cook the thick slices of bacon in a large skillet, as you normally would. Drain on paper towels.
Crumble one or two slices of bacon for each serving bowl of soup.
Serve soup with French baguette or with a good artisan bread.
Here’s the recipe:
Green Split Peas and Lentils Soup
Serves 8 or more people
1 – 16 ounces bag green dried split peas – picked and washed
1 – 16 ounces bag dried lentils – picked and washed
12 ounces salt pork or pancetta – thinly sliced
1 large onion – diced
6 garlic cloves – smashed, peeled and chopped
4 or 5 Jalapeno peppers – seeded and diced
4 cups chicken broth
6 cups filtered water
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 – 3 tsps. coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground hot pepper (optional)
Crumbled thick slices of crispy bacon for topping
Pour the bag of split peas into a large bowl. Sort through the beans and remove rocks and dried out, bad peas. Do the same with the lentils. Remove rocks and dried out, bad lentils.
Place both split peas and lentils in a fine, large colander, placed on top of a larger bowl. Wash under cold running water. Shaking the colander to get rid of sands. Wash and drain about five times or until water runs clear. Set aside.
Remove salt pork from plastic package. Wash under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Slice thinly.
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the salt pork. Cook the salt pork until most of fat has rendered. Remove the fat rendered but keep about 3 tablespoons in the pot. Store the extra rendered fat in a glass jar and refrigerate for future use.
Add the onions and garlic. Saute onions until translucent. Add the chopped jalapenos And saute for a few minutes until slightly cooked.
Add the washed split peas and lentils. Stir.
Add the chicken broth and filtered water. Stir.
Cover and bring pot to a boil over medium heat.
Once boiling, skim off the bubbles that surfaces on top.
Add the herbs: dried basil, dried thyme, bay leaves, and ground cumin.
Stir and cover the pot. Reduce heat and simmer the beans for 50 -60 minutes or until beans are tender.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the salt pork and bay leaves. Set aside.
Puree the beans using a hand held blender. Or puree half of the beans in a blender. You may want to do this in two batches, maybe 2 cups at a time. Please be careful. The soup is extremely hot and blender can explode if overfilled.
Once the beans are pureed… add back the salt pork and bay leaves.
Taste the beans for additional salt. If salt is needed, add one teaspoon at a time, stirring and tasting after each addition.
Lastly, add the ground black pepper and ground hot pepper, if using.
While the keeping the soup simmering over low heat…
Cook the bacon in a large skillet as you normally would. Cook until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Crumble one slice of crispy bacon and top each bowl of soup.
Serve soup with French baguette or a good artisan bread.
Tess’ Kitchen Secrets:
#1 – Salt pork. Salt pork is a my great secret for a lot of dishes, especially soups.
#2 – Coarse sea salt. Unrefined gray sea salt is rich in vitamins and minerals and ideal for soups and stews.
#3 – Thick slices bacon. Crumbled thick slices of bacon makes this soup whole. The saltiness of the bacon is a great contrast to the slightly sweet taste of the split peas.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking!