Denise’s Really, Really Spicy Pea Soup

Pea Soup
Denise’s Really, Really Spicy Pea Soup

This is a recipe that I began developing when I was younger and finally got it exactly where I wanted it somewhere between the ages of 16 or 17 years old. My parents do not like spicy food at all, and in typical teenage rebellion, I became a fire breather. Of course, back then, I could eat dairy, and all of the other myriad things that I can’t now. (If you can eat dairy, this soup is absolutely fabulous with a slice of smoked gouda on top melting into it, but I digress.) So when I was diagnosed I needed to make it dairy free, which is relatively simple in this case – use vegan margarine and don’t put cheese on it. When Mary Kate and I began discussing the idea of developing allergy free recipes, I decided to see if I could make it gluten free as well. Turns out I could, and it’s nearly indistinguishable from the original. (Except for the smoked gouda, did I mention that?  Sigh).

Remember, this is a really spicy soup, and I toned it down a bit for you guys, just in case you all don’t have stomachs lined with asbestos. (I’ll also be making notes in the ingredients on how to turn it down further in the ingredients, just in case some of you aren’t into really spicy). Also be aware that this recipe makes a VAT of soup. Luckily, it freezes incredibly well, and seems to have no effect on the soup at all. We freeze it in single serve containers and then just take one out and bring it to work to nuke for lunch. The last batch I made fit in about 5 or 6 pieces of Gladware that held between 3-4 cups each.

Denise’s Really, Really Spicy Pea Soup

  • 2 – 1 lb bags of split green peas
  • 4 quarts of water
  • 3-4 onions, chopped (4 if they are kind of small to medium, 3 if large).
  • 1 entire bulb or 12-15 cloves of garlic, minced (to tone down spice, cut this down to 6-8 cloves)
  • 1 – 1 lb package of hot Italian sausage (use regular Italian sausage if you want to tone down the spice)
  • 6-7 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 – 1 lb bag of carrots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning spice mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Better than Bouillion Chicken Low Sodium (low sodium version doesn’t have milk in it, the regular does)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sriracha (cut this to 1 1/2 teaspoons to tone down the spice)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of rice flour (I’ve used brown rice flour and white rice flour and it’s made no appreciable difference – something about cooking the flour in oil when doing the roux gets rid of the gritty-ness of brown rice flour)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Earth Balance Soy Free vegan margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt (such as the Lawry’s or Penzey’s versions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco hot sauce (You add the Tabasco at the end because it has a vinegar-y note and brightens up the soup at the end, plus, hey more spice.  But if you wanted to avoid more spice, try 1/2 teaspoon of cider vinegar)

Sort through the split green peas, looking for rocks (yes, it’s happened), other things that are not peas, and any discolored peas and hulls, and remove them.  Wash the peas in a colander, and put them in a stock pot (the one I use is an 8 quart size), with about 4 quarts of water.

Peas
Peas cooked until soft

Bring peas to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer for about an hour, until the peas are soft and beginning to fall apart.

Pureed Peas
Pureed Peas

Once peas are soft, use a hand or stick blender or a real blender in batches to puree the peas and cooking water together.  Once all the peas have been pureed, leave the mixture in the stock pot on very low heat.

Sausage Mixture
Sausage, Onions, Garlic and Spices

If your sausage has casings, take the sausage out of the casings and break it up into pieces, placing them in a skillet.  Bring the skillet to medium heat and brown the sausage, along with the onions, garlic, spices (except for bouillon), and Sriracha. Once the sausage is cooked and the onions are translucent, add the mixture to the stock pot, scraping down the skillet to get all the contents and spices into the stock pot with the pureed peas.

Almost there
Almost done, but not quite!

Add celery, carrots and bouillion to the pureed peas in the stock pot. Mix well and simmer for about an hour on low medium heat, or until carrots and celery are cooked.  Stir mixture often as it will want to stick to the bottom and burn, which is not good.

Rice Flour and Earth Balance Roux
Rice Flour and Earth Balance Roux

Once the carrots and the celery are cooked, we’re going to do a “roux” to thicken the soup.  Obviously, this isn’t a traditional roux because we won’t be using real butter or wheat flour, but it works the same way.  In a medium sauce pan, melt the Earth Balance Soy Free vegan margarine, and then add the rice flour, mixing it into a paste, and cooking it for a minute or two.

After adding first cup of broth

Slowly ladle in a cup or so of the pea soup broth to the small saucepan, mixing it in. It will form a nearly solid paste as it thickens.

Completed Roux and Pea Soup Broth Mix
Completed Roux and Pea Soup Broth Mix

Keep adding broth until the mixture in the sauce pan is the consistency of a very thick gravy and the mixture is easy to stir.

Once you reach this point, add contents of the saucepan to the stock pot with the rest of the soup and stir well.  This should thicken the rest of the soup.  Adjust your spices by adding the seasoned salt and the Tabasco at this point if you think it necessary.

Finished Pea Soup
Finished Pea Soup

If you wish, you may simmer it a little longer to let it thicken further, but be careful to stir it often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.

Serve in bowls.  You might want to sprinkle a dairy free cheese replacement product on the top, but I haven’t found one that I like that works with my particular hit list of allergens (Sigh.)  This is a great soup to enjoy on a chilly damp fall day, or a snowy winter day, the spices will keep you warm! (P.S. Feel free to adjust the amount of Sriracha and Tabasco if this isn’t hot enough for you.  I’ve also been known to add a pinch of cayenne and some crushed red pepper flakes as well.)

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