Split pea soup

    Serves 6 to 8

    • 1 lb. green split peas
    • 3 qts. water
    • 1½ tsp. salt
    • 2½ Tbs. butter
    • 1½ cups finely chopped carrots
    • 1 cup finely chopped sweet potato
    • 1 cup finely chopped onions
    • ½ cup finely chopped celery
    • ½ to ¾ tsp. ground marjoram
    • 1 tsp. dried basil
    • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
    • ½ to ¾ tsp. ground cumin
    • ½ cup dry white wine
    • fresh-ground black pepper to taste
    • optional garnish
    • croutons

    1. Put the split peas in a large pot with the water and salt; bring the water to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Skim off the foam from the top and discard it.
    2. Sauté the finely chopped or minced carrots, sweet potato, onions, and celery in the butter for about 10 minutes, stirring almost constantly. Add the herbs and cook the vegetables for another 5 minutes, then add them to the soup. Simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for another 45 minutes to an hour.
    3. Ladle out approximately ½ the soup and purée it in a blender or force it through a sieve. Return the purée to the pot, add the wine and pepper, stir, and bring the soup back to a simmer. Serve hot, alone or with croutons.