First soup for Winter 2008

Finally it is here……winter in Cape Town and I am a happy puppy. I just LOVE winter……the rain, the wind howling, the log fires, the warm coats, but most of all I am a comfort- food- kinda -girl. I just adore soups. stews, slow roasting dishes and…and……. So when the weatherman’s forecast was rain, I rolled out the veggies for a hearty soup. There are so many recipes for soup out there, but for me this soup is “home cooking” at it’s best. My gran and my mom used to cook soup like this and with just a slice of sourdough bread, this is a bumper meal.
Basically you can use any kind of veggies that you have available, but try not to use cabbage, cauliflower or brocolli, because the taste is just too overpowering. But here is what I did. By the way, this was 2 huge pots of soup, I had visitors, but you can freeze the soup in small quantities and have supper ready in no time…

Vegetable Soup

2 x 500gr split peas
1 kg marrow bones
6 large potatoes – grated
2 kg carrots -grated
1 big bunch of leeks -chopped
fresh herbs of your choice – I used soup celery and parsley.
1 small tins tomato paste
6 tomatoes, peeled and chopped.

Soak peas overnight in cold water and rinse the next morning.
Cook peas and marrow bones in lots of water until peas are soft. Do not add salt at this stage, as it will prevent the peas from softening up. Now add all the veggies and slow cook until done and all the marrow has fallen out the bones. Remove the bones and liquidize the soup.(if you prefer a chunkier soup, leave out this last step. Now start seasoning your soup by adding salt, lemon zest. lemon juice, pepper – anything you fancy.Let your taste buds guide you.

A few things to remember:
1. The dried peas burn very quickly so stir often and keep the heat low.
2. If the soup burns at the bottom, pour into a new pot otherwise your whole pot will taste burny.
3. I do not add stock, because the marrow bones provide more than enough flavor.
4. If the idea of the marrow bones freaks you out, use shin or just vegetable stock.

I served the soup with crumbled feta, chopped baby tomatoes and some green peppercorns just for texture and crunch.