Yesterday, I shared the line up at Mark and Johnna’s 10th annual cheese party.
And I promised to share the recipe for my course, a curried split pea soup with fried paneer and bacon. The past five years I’ve been one of two dessert courses, but this year, my responsibilities changed to soup. A new challenge.
Knowing the pace of eating at the cheese party, I didn’t want to make the soup course so cheese-heavy that people would be too full so early in the game. The cheese in this recipe—the paneer—is a topping more so than a main ingredient, but a key component of tying the soup together.
You start out by frying up some bacon and rendering out all the fat. Then you cook your onions and garlic in that fat before adding your brightly colored split peas and some vegetable stock. Let that boil down for a while before stirring in some coconut milk and curry powder.
Frying up the paneer took quite some time for a party of 16, but it was, of course, totally worth it.
Another successful cheese party. I can only imagine what next year will bring.
- 5 pieces thick cut bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1½ yellow onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1½ cups green split peas
- 5-6 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces paneer, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- chopped chives for garnish
- In a heavy bottomed pot, cook bacon until it’s nicely browned and fat has rendered. Remove bacon bits from pot and transfer to paper-towel lined plate. Set aside.
- Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes to bacon fat. Cook until translucent, then stir in split peas. Mix to coat, then add 5 cups vegetable broth.
- Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Cook for 30-50 minutes, until split peas are tender. Remove from heat. Add in coconut milk and curry powder.
- Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree soup until completely smooth. Add additional vegetable broth if soup is too thick.
- In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add paneer cubes and salt generously. Cook until browned (they’ll start to pop) and then flip to other side. Brown on remaining side.
- Serve soup with fried paneer, bacon bits, and chives on top.