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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Split Pea Soup and Spinach Feta Bread

 This bread and soup make a wonderful combination, and not just visually. I've been making the split pea soup for years, based on the recipe in The New Basics by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. I was saddened last year when Lukins died; she was a big influence on me and many other cooks, and I was hoping for more cookbooks from her. The bread recipe is from Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand by Beatrice Ojakangas. It's a nice cookbook because it gives instructions for making the breads by hand, with a mixer or food processor or bread machine. I like to use the bread machine to mix it, then shape it myself and bake it in the oven. Those are the instructions I've provided.

Split Pea and Ham Soup

1 lb. dried green split peas
5 c. canned or homemade chicken broth
5 c. water
1 meaty ham bone or two smoked ham hocks
2 ribs celery, leaves included, diced
3 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, divided use
1/2 tsp. crumbled dried tarragon leaves
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter or margarine (or use butter-flavored spray)
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced onion
1 large potato, diced
1 leek, white part only, rinsed and sliced
1 c. slivered fresh spinach leaves
2 tbsp. dry sherry
1/2 tsp. black or white pepper

Rinse peas in strainer and combine them with broth and water in large soup pot. Bring to a boil.

Add ham bone/hocks, celery, 1 tbsp. of the parsley and tarragon. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrots, onion and leek. Cook till vegetables are wilted, 10 minutes. Add them to the soup pot along with the spinach. Simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.

Remove soup from heat. Remove ham bone and shred the meat from the bone, discarding bone and excess fat. Return meat to soup.

Add sherry, pepper and rest of parsley. Heat through and serve immediately.

Note: I sometimes top the soup with good croutons and shaved Asiago cheese.

Spinach-Feta Whole Wheat Bread

1 c. water
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. whole wheat flour
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 c. coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1 egg, beaten (optional glaze)

Pour the room temperature water into the bread machine pan. Add remaining ingredients except the 2 tsp. of whole wheat flour, feta and spinach, in the order listed. Make an indentation in the center of the dry ingredients and add yeast.

Select Dough setting and press start. If the dough is wet and sticky, add a little more flour, 1 tbsp. at a time, until dough is smooth yet soft to the touch. If the dough is not soft but very firm, add 1 tsp. of water at a time until dough is smooth yet soft to the touch.

At the end of the Dough cycle, toss the 2 tsp. remaining flour with the feta. Remove dough to floured board and knead in the cheese and spinach by hand.

Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover it with parchment paper. Shape dough into fat, round loaf. Place loaf, smooth side up, onto baking sheet. Cover and let rise till almost doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To glaze, brush loaf with beaten egg. Bake 35 to 45 minutes (start checking at 30 minutes), until loaf sounds hollow when tapped and a wooden skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean and dry. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My husband made the Spinach Feta Bread today and it was just amazing. We did use the bread machine as directed but I'd love to be able to make the recipe without the machine if I was away from home. Does anyone know how I would do that?