Monday, 30 January 2012

Split Pea and Basil Stew

Sometimes I find the best recipes are created when you have something that you need to use up. My vegie garden is growing so beautifully right now and I am a tiny bit super proud of it. It's sort of like my child (except less high maintenance), every time somebody comes over to my house I invariable drag them outside to proudly show them my vegie garden and point out all the changes since last time I dragged them out to see it. My friends are probably sick of this but they will probably have to get over it. I imagine it is similar to if  they went over to somebody's house who had just had a baby - out come the baby photos (despite the fact that the baby is right there for you to look at) so that they can tell you all the tiny ways that the baby has changed over the last month which are all things that probably only they care about. Well, I'm like that with my vegie garden. It's like my child essentially. This is my other child, by the way, and I can tell you that she is definitely much cuter than my vegie-garden-child:

Uli Von Tuftsberg

However, what happens with a vegie garden (as I'm sure any vegie growers know) is that suddenly you get an influx of something which needs to be used up all at once before the plant goes to seed. So, this week the basil in my garden was rather thriving and I knew I needed to use up a fair bit of it to stop the plants going to seed. I was making lunch and what I really felt like was split pea soup/stew. So - the result was obviously Split Pea and Basil Stew! This is probably something I never would have tried if I hadn't had to use up the basil, which would have been a great loss because it was absolutely delicious (seconded by the two guests I had over for lunch that day). So the moral of the story is. Something.

Just to prove what a proud parent I am here is a picture of my basil (isn't it adorable??):

Split Pea and Basil Stew

1 tbsp nuttelex (or other vegan margarine)
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1.5L vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups green split peas
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
5 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
Cracked pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh basil

To Make:
1. Melt nuttelex in a large soup pot. Add the leek and garlic and sauté until softened. Add fennel seeds and caraway seeds and sauté for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the split peas, stock, potato, carrot, sweet potato, tomatoes, soy sauce and cumin and bring to the boil.
3. Reduce to a simmer and and cover. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the peas have gone nice and mushy.
4. Grind the basil to a paste in a mortar and pestle (leaving a small handful out to chop and use as garnish) or alternately use a food processor.
5. Add the basil paste and peas to the stew and simmer, uncovered for 5-10 minutes. Season to taste with cracked pepper.
6. Serve topped with shredded fresh basil.

Serves 4.

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