You know when there is something you just love, but you either don’t know or can’t remember the name of it? Like your favorite nail polish color that you only know by sight, or the movie you saw last week starring what’s-his-name who was in that other movie. Or that guy at the coffee shop with the fedora that you swear is your future husband… you know … as soon as you get up the nerve to ask his name. Well, this soup is kind of like that. You know you love it, and you can recognize it when you taste, but you aren’t quite sure what to call it.
Everything about this soup reminds me of my Grandma Janet. I was reintroduced to it on my most recent trip down to Atlanta, but after one taste I was instantly reminded of my Grandma and eating this soup together during her visits to Philadelphia in the winter. It also has a very similar taste to my Grandma’s famous Mushroom Barley soup, which I’m pretty sure I had an addiction to in my early childhood. As with most family recipes, the instructions for this soup were given to me in ‘handfuls of this’ and ‘oh gosh way more water than that!’ quantities. Although it takes about two hours on the stove to get all the beans tender, it’s unbelievably easy and well worth making on a Sunday afternoon as it yields enough for dinner for the rest of the week. It’s also super filling, low fat, and loaded with protein from the beans… So without further ado…
Grandma’s Pea Soup! Peas, Beans, and Barley! Sunshine Stewp! (I am open to suggestions)
1 large onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
3 celery ribs, with leaves
½ bag dried green peas
1 handful each: dried lentils, baby lima beans, barley
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp (this was given to me by the palmful, so this is an estimate) Herbs de Provence or Italian Seasoning
S&P to taste
Pulse onion and garlic in food processor until fine (but not a soggy mess). Remove, and do the same with the celery and carrots.*
Put the onions and garlic a large pot with a smidge of olive oil and sauté over medium heat until tender. Add the peas, beans, and barley and fill with water until beans are submerged about 1.5 inches. Bring to a simmer, and add the celery, carrots, bay leaves, and herbs. Cover, turn your soup down low, and let it do its thing.
Stir the soup periodically to make sure it isn’t sticking, and add more water if necessary. I find it takes about two hours, but you can turn it off if you need the leave the house and just turn it back on later. Give it any name you want
*I know you’re saying, “But Sarah, I don’t have a food processor!” Well my friends dry your eyes. I recently discovered the beauty of the Mirepoix mix at Trader Joe’s. It’s onion, celery and carrots already chopped for you… meaning all you have to do is finely mince a few cloves of garlic and that is it! Soup has never been easier.