Journal of Writing & Environment

The Book Thief & Split Pea Soup

We’re playing around with the way we run this blog. We’re hoping to keep more of you reading it, more often. So our current thought is this: We will read a book and then post a recipe that comes directly from the book. Liz really wanted to do “Open a can of Coke” when she read The Road by Cormac McCarthy (yes, she was just getting around to it), but she got out-voted.

Recently, Gen, Liz, and our former poetry editor, Annie, have been reading The Book Thief for a Teaching English Literature class–and one of the primary foodstuffs in this book is an apparently vile split pea soup that the protagonist’s stepmother makes and forces people to eat. No one can keep this down–which we think is terribly unfair to split pea soup. It really can be pretty good. There are standard green split pea soups, ones made from red lentils, etc. This recipe comes from Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups dried split green peas, picked over and rinsed
5 cups water
juice of 1/2 lemon (reserve the zest)

a few pinches of smoked paprika
more olive oil to drizzle

Add olive oil to a big pot over med-high heat. Stir in onions and salt and cook until the onions soften, just a minute or two. Add the split peas and water. Bring to a boil, dial down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through (but still a touch al dente). Using a large cup or mug ladle half of the soup into a bowl and set aside. Using a hand blender (or regular blender) puree the soup that is still remaining in the pot. Stir the reserved (still chunky) soup back into the puree – you should have a soup that is nicely textured. If you need to thin the soup out with more water (or stock) do so a bit at a time. Stir in the lemon juice and taste. If the soup needs more salt, add more a bit at a time until the flavor of the soup really pops.

Ladle into bowls or cups, and serve each drizzled with olive oil and topped with a good pinch of smoked paprika and a touch of lemon zest.

Serves 4 to 6

2 responses to “The Book Thief & Split Pea Soup”

  1. Sara says:

    Hello Flywayers.
    I love your blog.
    Also, I love the Book Thief.
    Tears and Tears.
    Sara Perez
    former poetry/managing editor
    and all around fan.

    • Sara! We (well, Liz, I’m not sure the rest of the staff knew you) miss you! You should come visiting. Or we should get coffee. Something. Flyway misses all your enthusiasm! Especially for the Flyway Benefit auction (ehm, November 7th, 2010 for interested parties).