Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Split Pea Soup with Fried Paneer and Curried Brown Butter

It's cold.

I'm fighting the urge to go into severe hibernation mode, where all I do is eat cheese, bread, and soup and drink copious amounts of red wine. Lounging in my sweats, reading books, and cuddling with my dogs sounds so much more appealing than eating salads and exercising when my boogers instantly freeze the minute I step outside.
Then again I also want to be able to fit in my shorts come spring, so I make some compromises.

I eat healthy during the day, you know... fresh juice, yogurt and kale, kale, kale.
I take my dogs for a long walk and do some yoga.
I take all my supplements to keep that immune system revved up....

..and then I put on my sweats, pour a glass of wine and make some soup with cheese and bread.

This soup has a good amount of butter, but in my mind the healthy benefits of split peas totally counteract that. Plus butter is good, so whatevs.

A little pan fried paneer cheese gives the soup a little texture, but is totally optional.  Paneer may be difficult for some of you to find, but if you can get your hands on some, I totally reccomend it.

Serve this soup with some hunks of crusty bread for dipping.

Don't forget the wine.

Split Pea Soup with Fried Paneer and Curried Brown Butter (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a starter)
Adapated from this recipe from Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks.

2 T. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
6 1/2 c. water

1 1/4 c. yellow split peas

3 T. unsalted butter
1 T. Indian curry powder
1/2 c. coconut milk
sea salt, to taste

2 oz. paneer, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 T. neutral oil (sun
flower, grapeseed, canola etc..)

Combine 2 T. butter, onion, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat until onions are softened. Stir in the split peas and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook until split peas are mushy, about 1-1/2 hours. 

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Stir in the curry powder and sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat 2 T. neutral oil in a sautee pan over medium heat. Add the paneer and cook until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

When the split peas are done cooking, stir in coconut mik and 1 t. salt.
Puree with an immersion blender until it's silky smooth.
Stir in half the brown butter and more salt, to taste.

Serve drizzled with the remaining brown butter and the fried paneer cubes.

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