Vegan Mofo #24 - Taymer’s Caribbean Green Split Pea Soup, and Everyday Vegan Ham
The Region - The Caribbean
The Book - Caribbean Vegan
The Author - Taymer Mason
The Recipe - Caribbean Green Split Pea Soup
Page # 78 Every Day Vegan Ham is on Page #100
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - About 1 hour and 20 minutes - not including split pea soak time
Originally this was not a dish I had planned to make for Mofo, however last week on a cool autumn afternoon that continued to threaten storms and rain a hearty soup seemed like just the ticket. I had been eying this particular soup recipe for some time, though had neglected to make it because I never seem to have any luck with split peas. I don’t know why, but no matter how long I soak my peas for they never want to get soft if I use them in a soup, cooked in a pot on the stove. A slow cooker is fine, or if I cook them entirely alone for over an hour at a boil that seems to work, but cooked at a simmer on the stove in less then an hour - it never works. Since this particular soup is eventually blended anyway I thought it might work out alright in the end, pus it served a dual purpose because in making this recipe I need to also make 2 other recipes from the book, the Bajan Seasoning which I mentioned last week, and the Everyday Vegan Ham. I was particularly excited about the Ham.
I have made a vegan seitan ham only once before, and I wasn’t overly impressed, for me the flavor just wasn’t strong enough, so I was really excited to try Taymer’s take on it. Especially since - as everyone knows - you can’t have a truly good split pea soup without vegan ham. Well, no I suppose that’s not entirely true, I have made great - fantastic really - split pea soups without vegan ham, but using vegan ham just makes it more traditional I suppose, and thus more comforting on a cool day.
Growing up split pea soup was my favorite soup that my Oma made. She would make it each time my brother or I got sick, and sometimes she would make it just because. That along with her chicken noodle soup were my favorites, and even though I’ve made several split pea soups - or attempted to - since going vegan I’ve never really been able to find one that comes close to my Oma’s. Until now that is. If you take the heat out of Taymer’s split pea soup I swear it tastes every bit as good - if not better - then my Oma’s version. In fact the similarity is uncanny.
For her version Taymer uses onion, shallot, celery, garlic, olive oil, split peas, Bajan seasoning, water, thyme, basil, scotch bonnet pepper, nutritional yeast, seasoning salt, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, liquid smoke, salt, and the Vegan ham. I followed her recipe exactly except I used a more liberal amount of liquid smoke, and cut back on the scotch bonnet pepper. I also didn’t puree the entire soup as I like my soups a little chunky. Of course that old problem of some of the peas not getting soft enough happened once more even after soaking for 10 hours, but the soup was so good I didn’t mind much. My husband and I ate two heaping bowls a piece and garnished them with some extra Bajan seasoning for good measure. A delicious meal for sure.
But now, you’re probably wondering about the ham am I right? Well it was beyond amazing! Truly the flavor was so good, so spot on, and really reminiscent of what I remember actual ham to be like. For her recipe Taymer uses vital wheat gluten, salt, black pepper, paprika, ground cloves, water, maple syrup, pineapple juice, canola oil, liquid smoke, tomato paste and garlic. I really think that what sets her ham recipe apart is the maple syrup, pineapple juice and the liberal amount of liquid smoke. Most sausage or ham recipes call for liquid smoke to get that smokey flavor but they normally call for a couple of tsp where as Taymer calls for a full Tbsp. It really makes the difference. Not to mention that delicate yet pungent flavor of cloves that really makes the flavors in this vegan ham pop. So, so good! Delicious in the soup, great on it’s own, I can’t wait to try it in something else.