There is something romantic about the idea of of sitting around the fireplace as the snow or rain falls with bitter icy winds slamming against the house, all the while eating soup. And for me this is picture is Pea soup. Call it my English heritage but I do enjoy a great tasting pea soup and this one is particularly easy to make.
Start with peas or split peas depending on your preference or you can run around your house calling them "Pease" with a terrible English accent until your wife yells at you to stop. But in any case you need some.
I have about 1.5 cups of peas, that's good enough for my wife and me but you can judge if it will enough for you and yours.
Next, you will need garlic and onion, veggie broth, potatoes and carrot if you like.....all you really need is the veggie broth but the veggies add some flavor and texture that can be really great, so if you can, add.
On this day, I had onions, garlic and potatoes so that's what went in. If I had carrots that would for sure have gone in and for some potatoes would never go into the soup but I enjoy it and find that it adds a bit more thickness and creaminess to the soup.
Once the onions are chopped, garlic sliced thinly and the potatoes cubed, throw it all into a pot. If you want to be a bit more professional, you can sweat the onions and garlic until translucent then add the potatoes, cook for another couple of minutes then add the peas and then the stock. But in my case I say, screw it and just threw everything in one pot at the same time.
You need a really good amount of stock, as it takes about 3 hours of slow simmering for the peas to start to break down. So, I always start with enough stock (you don't really need hot stock standing beside your soup pot. Just take hot water and some veggie soup base and throw them into the soup pot and stir), which is about double of the amount of peas you have. So in my case, I added about 3 cups of water....I add more later but I will get to that. While the three hour simmer time goes along, check and stir your soup on occasion. This does two things, but the most important part is you see if the soup is becoming too thick and if so add a bit more stock.
Now, add your spices... Bay leaf and thyme. Done. You can be creative if you want but there is no need. These two are perfect with the peas and do your best to avoid over complicating the dish.
While this simmers, take some smoked tofu. The more smoky the flavor the better. Cut it into cubes or rip it apart to the size that you prefer. I, always enjoy seeing large chunks in my soups but if you are like my wife, it is better to cut or rip finer.
After the three hours and before you add the tofu, I like to either mash up the peas a little or give it a bit of a blend. Again, I like texture so it is only a light blend. This ensure that you get a creamy and rich product. You don't need to do this step if you like bigger chunks.
I have about half a cup of tofu and there is two things you can do with the tofu. You can either fry it, this give it a bit nicer of a texture when simmered in the soup or you can not fry it which gives it a softer texture. Preference is yours.
After adding the tofu, simmer the soup for an additional half hour. This gets the smoky flavor from the tofu into the soup. After that check you seasoning levels, add some salt or pepper depending on preferences and enjoy. (It is usually good to let your soup sit, covered for about 10 min after simmering, mostly so it isn't so hot when you eat it, also it helps with the blending of the different flavors)