Smashed Pea - Barley Soup

Barley Soup

Got one of those cool hand blenders? You know, the kind of gadget that used to be pitched on those annoying yet compelling late-night infomercials? It comes in handy for this recipe, which requires the split peas to be smashed into a smooth consistency, just like the original. If you don't have a hand mixer, a standard blender works just fine. This soup is very tasty and very low in fat. And the barley gives it a special chunky consistency and added flavor that isn't found in most pea soups.

2 cups split peas
6 cups water
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth (4 cups)
1/3 cup minced onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
dash dried thyme
1/2 cup barley
6 cups water
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 stalk celery, diced (1/4 cup)

Garnish
chopped green onion

1. Rinse and drain the split peas, then add them to a large pot with 6 cups of water, chicken broth, onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, sugar, parsley, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 75 minutes or until
the peas are soft.

2. While the peas are cooking, combine the barley with 6 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 75 minutes or until the barley is soft and most of the water has been absorbed.

3. When the split pea mixture has become a thick soup, use a hand held blender to puree the peas until the mixture is smooth. You may also use a standard blender or food processor for this step, pureeing the soup in batches. Alternately, if you like, you may skip this step, keeping the soup rather chunky. It's still good this way, just not as smooth as the real thing.

4. Drain the barley mixture in a sieve or colander and add it to the split pea mixture. Add the carrots and celery and continue to simmer the soup for 15 to 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Stir occasionally. Turn off the heat, cover the soup, and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Garnish each serving with a little chopped green onion.
Makes 8 servings.

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