Tonight I used a technique I learned soon after I graduated from college the first time around, in a recipe from a long-gone vegetarian cookbook. The author made a carrot and onion soup by processing the vegetables in a blender to chop them finely.
That recipe basically just used carrots, onions and herbs - mostly thyme - sauteed in oil before adding water. The soup was quick and easy to make for a first course or soup and sandwich dinner. Without the blender I couldn't have finely diced enough onion without crying for hours from the irritation or grated enough carrots without crying for hours from the boredom.
I decided to use this idea as a basis for a split pea soup that would have a less overwhelming peaness than usual. Split peas cook quickly enough that I don't use a slow cooker, especially as I like mine not cooked to complete mush.
Start by chopping half a large onion and about a cup of baby carrots left over from your sister's birthday party in two batches in the blender. Get them pretty finely chopped without actually pureeing them, though some larger bit should remain.
This goes in a pot with a few tablespoons of olive oil, some of which is garlic flavored, along with a generous sprinkle of thyme - maybe a couple teaspoons worth - and a half cup of uncooked brown rice. After this combination sautes for long enough to just start to stick a bit around the edges, pour on some white wine - more than half a cup but less than a full cup. Never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink.
Let this simmer together for a while while you tell the spousal unit about a piece read in Cook's Illustrated while at the grocery store the day before. They had read that alcohol, i.e. wine, added to a hot liquid forms compounds called something vaguely like azetoles that prevent the alcohol from evaporating. After some testing they decided that, indeed, when wine was added to a hot sauce or stock it retained its 'boozy' taste no matter how much it was reduced or how long it then cooked. When simmered on it's own before another liquid was added, it lost that boozy flavor and mellowed as expected.
Once the wine reduces a bit, add a pound of split peas (2 to 2 1/4 cups) and a quart of water. Bring back to a simmer/light boil. Let it cook for an hour, stirring occasionally and adding another three cups of water one at a time while you also finally sew the frigging buttons on your sweater now that you have acquired appropriate needles and thread. Vow next time to believe the package on how much liquid the peas will need, though when you're in your normal urban environment with its greater selection of food products you buy your peas in the bulk organic section, of course.
Toss together a green salad with some socially and physique-ally responsible dressing.
Serve a meal that would make Frances Moore Lappe proud, mostly. What ever happened to the first paperback edition of that book I bought brand new and kept for years?
You're right, I didn't add salt or pepper. I don't think it needs either. Feel free to disagree.
P.S. The recipe makes two large bowls plus that much again in leftovers that will need some water added during reheating after they solidify to a solid mass in the frig.