Tis the season to slow down. Winter is officially on the horizon later this month. Though the holidays tend to inspire frenzy, there are plenty of cues to slow down. Colder weather, shorter days, even holiday meals tend to keep us seated for longer than the usual dinner.
I want to give thanks to this slower season and it's nutrient-dense foods that have a longer shelf life. Spring and summer are so appreciated in my book for their copious bounty. I tend to go crazy though at the farmer's market, grocery store or even in my garden with collecting all the available fresh foods. Then my fridge is full and everything must be used up before the big wilt goes down. Quick salads, pestos and grilling are the cooking modes for the sunny seasons. Now a days heartier greens, squashes, sweet potatoes, broths and dried beans have become staples of my diet. Roasting, simmering and baking take more time, tis the season, slow it down. These slow foods and cooking practices can inspire your body and mind to take some time to achieve a more restorative mode. Offering your body such a practice can benefit you now and in the long term. So many modern, prevalent maladies and bad habits are due to hormone imbalances. Which are a result of chronic use by our body of stress hormones. Enjoying some slow food can offer you the time to calm down and rebalance.
Today I honor the slow season. I just finished making a batch of nourishing yellow split pea soup. Most of the ingredients have been here at my home for quite some time. So lucky for me my hunger can be satisfied, as well as my husband's, quite a few times with out me having to leave the house.
To start, I looked around, thought about my hunger, which is pretty constant these days eating for two and I started to imagine the puurfect soup for the afternoon. (Thank goodness for toast, which often holds me over until the next real meal). I had to start with the turkey broth I made on Thanksgiving afternoon after our feast. Most of it went into the freezer but the quantity used today was stowed in the fridge in a nice tight jar just waiting for the right soup. The delicata squash that made an appearance in the soup has been in my veggie bowl for weeks. Delicata squashes have a nice dose of Vitamins A & C as well as polysaccharide & antioxidant power that offers the body a nice dose of fiber and immune defense. One of the many glories of winter squashes is that the longer they sit around the sweeter many of them get. So let the neat shapes & colors of winter squashes inspire you to let them leap into your basket for a ride home, for a spontaneous addition to a meal. I made a split pea dish a couple weeks back so I had about a cup and half left over, so I soaked them in some water while I looked around to see what else could go in this soup. Yellow split peas are packed full of both protein, carbohydrates and fiber. They also offer a fair amount of folate & thiamin, which helps your body convert those carbohydrates to some useful fuel. I figured that the turkey broth will offer a lot of flavor, split peas have the bulk of macronutrients and with the sweetness and vitamin profile of the delicata squash I really only needed a green. Luckily, I have a plethora of kale both inside and outside my house today. So I settled with 4 main, nutrient-dense ingredients and added the base of onions and garlic along with some warming spices to make this delicious slow food soup.
Here is this afternoon's recipe:
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 t turmeric
1 t cumin
½ t marjoram
1 t sea salt
1 delicata squash, de-seeded, peeled & cubed
1 ½ cups yellow split peas (soaked for at least a ½ hour)
6 cups turkey broth (you can use any combination of broth & water to meet this portion)
1 bunch of kale, chopped up fine
Heat a soup pot on medium with ghee & add chopped onions. Cook the onions for 5 minutes (meanwhile prepare delicata squash), then add the garlic & spices. Stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, add the squash. Mix well to coat the squash with spices. Drain & rinse the split peas, once they are clean add them to the pot followed by the turkey broth. Turn the heat up to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it has reached a boil let it roll for a couple of minutes, skim any foam that is floating on the top and discard. After about 5 minutes turn the heat down to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. Add chopped kale to soup just before serving, stir it in & cover. Turn heat off and let stand for 5 minutes.