Our super senior Jakebert underwent dental surgery today and for a large breed at 14.5 years, this isn't a small feat. Him and Vermont Cowboy headed out to Burlington this morning and with us girls holding down the fort. After staring at my phone for the better part of two hours, we finally got word that the landing party had made it to Burlington safe & sound, just waiting to be taken in for surgery.
I have to admit, I was pretty much useless until I finally heard back that he had made it out of surgery just fine although the surgery had been more invasive as originally planned. Luckily, one of my fabulous friends had given me an awesome idea months ago: to pre-cook meals so we can just pop homemade meals into the microwave on days like this. Not sure why this hadn't occurred to me in close to 12 years of failed house-wife-eyness but there you have it - my friend Stacie is a genius and I had food. Boom!
Today was the perfect day for my patented German split pea soup - which is my grandmother's recipe and simply delicious. I almost felt human again after having a healthy serving.
In case you'd like to cook along, here's the recipe (in metric since ounces & cups never made much sense to this former Germany. Metric babies! ):
300 grams organic split peas (dry), 1 liter water (or broth), 300 grams pork belly, 200 grams leek (if in a pinch, you can also easily omit this), 200 grams carrots, 100 grams celery, 300 grams of potatoes (eyeball it), two onions, pepper, broth, Kielbasa
Start this process the night before by soaking the peas in one liter of water for 12 hours (give or take).
Pour the soaked peas into a large pot along with the water they were soaked in, add your broth and bring everything to a boil. Boil for half an hour and make sure that your broth doesn't evaporate. Add more broth as needed so the peas are always covered in water. At this stage, you'll see green/grey foam bubble up - this is perfectly normal, just make sure that things don't spill over.
Cut your pork belly into a couple of not-too-small pieces and add to your peas & broth. Make sure the broth covers the meat. Continue to cook for another half hour.
Cube & slice the carrots, potatoes and leeks and add to the mix. Cut the onion into cubes and cook in olive oil (or butter) until they're glazing over. Add to the soup. Although I've also skipped this step in the past and added the onions directly to the soup whenever I feel lazy.
Remove the pork belly from the soup and let everything simmer. Wait until the pork belly has cooled down and then cut it into small pieces. I personally prefer to cut off all the fat because the texture on cooked fat wigs me out but that's personal preference. For us, I only add the lean pieces of meat back into the soup but my grandmother used to use everything. Instead of making this soap with pork belly, you can also use pork hook and follow the same process.
BEFORE you add your pork back into the soup, give everything a quick stir with the stick blender so things blend nicely (there's really no right or wrong here - some people prefer a more "coarse" soup, others a more smooth texture - either one is yummy). Slice your Kielbasa into slices and add to your soup. Add the pork belly. Heat up everything and enjoy!
I usually double this recipe, which feeds the two of us for two meals with plenty to freeze into portions for those lazy days to come.