Pressure-cooker split pea soup

Getting a jump on my resolution to use the pressure cooker more often, I tried split pea soup in it today. It was a success. Josh had three and a half bowls and wound up hunched over the nearly-empty pot in the kitchen, scraping out the last little bit with a spatula. I bet he’s sorry he can’t get his whole head into the pot.

I went through our cookbooks and found that we had recipes for all kinds of fancy-pants pea soups, but no plain old vegetarian split pea soup. This is plain old vegetarian split pea soup. You don’t really need the bacon salt, but it adds a subtle smokiness. Just don’t get crazy with it or you’ll easily oversalt the soup. Then you’d have to add a potato. Which is pretty tasty, actually.

Split pea soup

1.5 smallish-medium onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 1/3 cups split peas, picked over and rinsed
1 1-qt package of “No Chicken” broth
a hefty grind of black pepper
a very small dash of Bacon Salt (no kidding, it’s vegetarian)
2 bay leaves
~1 heaping tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste, but don’t be stingy here)
balsamic vinegar

In the pressure cooker base, sweat the onions in a little neutral oil while you chop the carrots and celery. Add those, and keep it on medium while you chop the garlic. Add that and cook until all the vegetables are soft, translucent and perhaps slightly touched with brown here and there.

Remove the vegetables to a bowl and add the split peas and veggie broth. Bring the peas up to high pressure for about six minutes, then let the pressure decline naturally. Add the vegetables back and simmer on super-low heat with hot pepper flakes, bay leaves, bacon salt, and pepper.

Each eater might want to try a splosh of balsamic vinegar on their soup. (Who taught me to finish pea soup with balsamic vinegar? Whoever you are, thanks – you were right.)

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