In the Kitchen : Split Pea Soup with Spiced Brown Butter

Popcorn dinner with a side of soup.

A photo posted by alyson (@ilovedrywell) on

As the days get colder and our lives as small business owners get busier, I like to do big batch cooking. For the same amount of effort, I can get meals for days. DAYS, I tell you!

One of my favorite go-to recipes is an adaptation of Heidi Swanson's Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter. It is easy to make, very cheap, filling, and freezes well.  It is a perfect one dish meal for chilly fall days. I slightly tweak this fantastic recipe, using split peas, vadouvan butter, and fried halloumi to round it out. Here's my adaptation, which is a double batch of her original recipe, with my tweaks thrown in. 


Photo © Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks

Split Pea Soup with Spiced Brown Butter

adapted from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, and her book Super Natural Every Day  © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press.

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, rough chopped
6 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1.5 teaspoon red pepper flakes*
11 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water

3 cups green split peas, picked over and rinsed

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon Vadouvan curry** 
1 cup coconut milk
Fine-grain sea salt

1 package Halloumi cheese, or any other grilling cheese, like paneer.  

*I use the fantastically fresh pepper from local producers Piment d'Ville**I make big batches of Vadouvan with this recipe. You can also sub in any type of Indian curry powder

1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium hear. Add in onion, garlic, and red pepper and stir until the onions soften, a couple minutes. 

2. Add the split peas and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook at a simmer, covered, until the split peas are tender. I've had this take anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes. 

3. While the soup is simmering, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it browns. Don't leave the room when doing this! As soon as you can smell the butter browning, stir in the Vadouvan or other curry powder and stir. Turn off the heat immediately and let the spiced butter mixture mingle. 

4. When the split peas are finished cooking, remove from heat, stir in the coconut milk and salt to taste. Then puree the soup, either with an immersion blender, or Vitamix for a super silky result. 

5. Once pureed, stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed. 

6. Slice the halloumi or other cheese into 1/3 inch slices. Heat a small nonstick saute pan over medium heat, and "grill" the cheese until browned. Flip and brown. Remove from heat, and cut into little bite-sized chunks.

 To serve the soup, ladle into individual bowls, plop in the halloumi, and drizzle with the remaining spiced butter.