Thick and satisfying, Split Pea Soup with Mint and Tomatoes makes a good first course for a family meal. Serve with croutons to give a contrasting texture.
1 oz. butter
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
4 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
8 oz. split peas, soaked overnight and drained
8 fl. oz. beef stock
8 fl. oz. water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon dried basil
1 large tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded and cut into strips
½ teaspoon chopped fresh mint
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and cook, stirring occa- sionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until it is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes and the split peas and stir until they are coated with the butter. Pour in the stock and water. Stir in the mint, salt, pepper and basil.
Increase the heat to moderately high and bring the soup to the boil, stirring constantly. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 1 ½ hours or until the peas are very soft. Remove the pan from the heat. Rub the soup through a strainer into a large mixing bowl, discarding the contents of the strainer. Alternatively, puree the soup in a blender.
Rinse out the saucepan and wipe it dry. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan and bring it to the boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the soup into warmed individual serving bowls. Garnish the soup with the tomato and mint and serve immediately.