Porkless and Pea Green
January 11, 2009 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Looking at the earlier soup post, I thought I might make a nice split pea soup. Alas, I have no ham bone. I then thought I might like to try a good vegetarian version, but one of my favorite parts of the split pea experience is the salty smokey part of the soup-- which it gets from the ham. Does anyone have a good meatlovers vegetarian split pea soup recipe (if that makes sense)?
posted by oflinkey to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I'm vegetarian, and this is my split-pea soup, which my carnivorous friend loves. The celery would be important for what you want, and you'd probably want to go heavy on the garlic, but I don't know how you'd get anything very smoky unless you just happen to have Liquid Smoke sitting around or something.
posted by dilettante at 4:39 PM on January 11, 2009

A little soy sauce (watch the salt, of course) and/or reconstituted shiitake and/or crimini mushrooms would help quite a bit.

If you want porky flavor but have no ham bone, you can always start with some cut up bacon. Take it out after crisp, fry your onions and carrots in it, then add the bacon back in before serving.

This obviously isn't something you could serve to your vegetarian friends, but it's a good substitute for, or addition to, the ham.
posted by rossination at 4:40 PM on January 11, 2009

The Moosewood version is the bomb diggity.
posted by sandking at 4:56 PM on January 11, 2009

For some unfathomable reason, I have "Liquid Smoke" in my pantry. (It seems to be vegetarian.) There are several pea soup recipes on the net that incorporate it but I don't have a particular recipe to recommend.
posted by Morrigan at 4:57 PM on January 11, 2009

Goya makes a superb ham base (powdered bullion) that, oddly, I cannot find on the website. Perhaps it's only sold in Hispanic markets? I have loads of it and have seen it very recently in Wal-Mart (though I'm in a heavily populated Latino area). I am a hog freak and this stuff works for me. If you can't find any, drop me a note and I'll send you some. Excellent with both collards and split-pea soup. As noted above, mushroom as an earthy/'natal' taste that will enhance nay legume in interesting ways. Superior Touch makes an excellent base. 'Liquid Smoke is vegetarian and is an excellent substitute.
posted by dawson at 5:00 PM on January 11, 2009

Start of by popping mustard seeds in the oil before sauteing the onions etc. Gives a nice smoky flavour to the dish.
posted by dr. moot at 5:01 PM on January 11, 2009

Nthing Liquid Smoke. A little goes a long way.
posted by gnutron at 5:03 PM on January 11, 2009

I ate this when I first went veg, and never missed the ham. I still make it regularly. You can use 100% split peas for the split peas + lentils. You can also do it on the stovetop, which is quicker, but more work, as you would need to sauté the vegetables first. I think it's the red bell pepper and cumin that adds that something.

Oven-Baked Split Pea and Lentil Soup

2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup dried split peas
1 cup dried lentils
4 carrots, sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and shopped
2 onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in an oven proof Dutch oven. Bake, covered, at 350F (no need to preheat oven) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until peas and lentils are tender. Do not overcook. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Serves 8
posted by zinfandel at 5:06 PM on January 11, 2009 [4 favorites]

I love sliced Tofurkey sausage in soup, but if that doesn't float your boat, smoked paprika is really delicious, and adds a wonderful smoky flavour. These are also both great in borscht.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:43 PM on January 11, 2009

a random thought, but what if you wrapped some hickory wood chips in cheese cloth and let them steep in the soup while you are cooking it...
posted by refractal at 5:45 PM on January 11, 2009

I find that crumbling a single dried dundicot pepper into about a pound of fresh beans gives a pleasantly smoky background taste.
posted by QIbHom at 5:56 PM on January 11, 2009

I picked up some alder-smoked salt at a local yuppie-veggie store -- it works great to give bean soups a smoky taste. It ain't bad on popcorn either.
posted by moonmilk at 5:57 PM on January 11, 2009

I have no advice, however, "Alas, I have no ham bone" is now one of my favorite things to say.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:10 PM on January 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use some chipotle, since I like a little heat anyway. The spice house carried smoked barley, which adds that smoky flavor without the liquid. Liquid smoke would probably be easier since you're making soup anyway.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:11 PM on January 11, 2009

Kombu makes a great substitute for pork in dishes that you wish to make vegetarian. I just made a very passable posole with kombu instead of pork this evening.
posted by OmieWise at 6:25 PM on January 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am a meat lover and I loved this soup: Soupy Dal, American-Style.
posted by Dick Paris at 7:59 PM on January 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Things that give other things flabours that are smokey, or at least highly savoury, without being pork:
- Smoked tofu
- Cumin
- Caramelized onions
- Worcestershire sauce
- The adobo sauce that chipotle peppers come in

I pretty much always sub in those ingredients or combination thereof (usually cumin+worcestershire+onions, because that I what I have on hand), and it's never a disappointment!
posted by Kololo at 8:05 PM on January 11, 2009

I save the smoky salt that settles in the bottom of the bag whenever I buy smoked almonds for exactly this purpose.
posted by flabdablet at 8:13 PM on January 11, 2009

- Caramelized onions

I think this is brilliant. I'm going to do it this week.

For future reference, you can always keep a one or two-pound drugstore-bought canned ham around. They last forever and, finely diced, make a great addition to split pea soup.
posted by codswallop at 8:34 PM on January 11, 2009

If you're going to do the caramelized onions, try a cast iron skillet with no oil. It takes a while and a lot of stirring. Let them get good and brown.

The flavor is significantly more amazing than regular old sauteed onions. And the smell will bring everyone in the house into the kitchen asking what's for dinner.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:12 PM on January 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thank you all... I will get back to you this. Looks like I have a lot of soup to eat. I am just the woman for this job.
posted by oflinkey at 10:52 PM on January 11, 2009

Smoked paprika is a good suggestion. I sometimes make a recipe from this cookbook that has you add a pat of butter to the soup - I would never have thought of it, but I think the butter helps add in some of the richness you would usually get from the ham.
posted by yarrow at 8:30 AM on January 12, 2009

Sorry, not quite what you asked, but I made pea soup recently with a smoked turkey leg (instead of a ham hock) that I bought from the butcher's section of the grocery store, and it was better (IMO) than with the ham, and very smoky. Also, there was a lot of meat on it, so the soup was quite hearty. Without the turkey, the soup was quite simple and was actually vegan.
posted by penchant at 11:56 AM on January 12, 2009

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