We just got some dried fava beans into stock. They look like split peas only bigger and as soon as I saw them I thought ‘Wow, they’d make great soup’. I know that it’s been a mild winter and that spring is springing all around us but, as I so love comforting cold season food, I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe as a last nod to it. It’s a Nigel Slater recipe that takes a basic split pea soup and elevates it to a new level of deliciousness by popping in a dollop of easily made spiced butter at the end. It’s so good and, who knows, we may get another cold snap!
300g split yellow peas
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 large sprigs of mint
For the Butter
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground chilli
Palmful mint leaves, chopped
Small handful coriander leaves, chopped
Soak the peas overnight in deep cold water. The next day drain, cover with fresh water and bring them to the boil. Turn the heat down and let them simmer with the onion, mint and a glug or two of olive oil.
After an hour or so they will be tender enough to crush against the side of the pan. If not, cook them for a while longer. If they are no longer covered by water, then add some boiling water to top them up. Remove all but a third of the peas and water and put it in either a blender or a food processor til smooth. Return the smooth mixture to the pot, and cook for a few minutes until it thickens.
To make the butter (which can be done at any time while the peas are cooking) mash all the ingredients together with a generous teaspoon of salt and then chill. You probably won’t need all the butter but it is difficult to make in smaller quantities. Keep it in the fridge or freezer and use on steak or chicken.
Ladle the soup into bowls and stir a wodge of spiced butter into each one. Serve with some nice warmed bread.