Split Pea with Fresh Corn Soup for Bertie

 Bertie needed a bit of comfort food in this book, another from the inimitable writings of Alexander McCall Smith, The Bertie Project, from Smith's 44 Scotland St. series.   Seven year old Bertie has a mother everyone loves to hate, the horrid Irene.

As the publishers write:
"Bertie's mother, Irene, returns from the Middle East to discover that, in her absence, her son has been exposed to the worst of evils -- television shows, ice cream parlors, and even unsanctioned art at the National Portrait Gallery. Her wrath descends on Bertie's long-suffering father, Stuart." 

Admittedly Stuart is a total wimp, but might just be acquiring some wee cojones by the end of this book.
Alexander McCall Smith is one of my very favorite authors, with his wonderful #1 Ladies' Detective Agency, 44 Scotland St., and The Sunday Philosophy Club series, among others.  I love the thoughtful, meandering, and philosophical way he goes from social issues to random thought, with abundant wit and large helpings of wisdom, whilst drawing delightful portraits of the various characters and settings.  People hold actual, interesting conversations. Without recourse to Smartphones. When Angus accidentally falls from a window, there is an entire humorous chapter on Scottish Defenestrations.

The only downside to some series' type novels is a lack of resolve at the end.  This one for instance.  I'm worried about Bertie and Stuart.  Smith's other series don't seem to have that problem.  Though some might say it's just life, which goes on, things change, develop, never get resolved.  That's reality.  We expect it.  However, not all that satisfactory in a novel. For me anyway.

I'd like to serve Bertie this soup, one his Granny might have made for him while Irene was away on her trip.  He wants to go live with his Granny, however there's nothing she can really do about that.

I enjoy cooking for my dear grandson, and this is just my own "Granny's" recipe.   You may recall a wild boar leg in a recent post about tamales.  Well, the bone (ham hock?) was pulled out of my freezer for this soup.  That was the start.  Being quite a longish item, it was simmered for a time with one end sticking up out of the pot, then turned so the other end could cook.  Eventually I noticed that it was possible to push down in the center and wedge the whole thing under.  Heat, liquid and pressure applied.

                           Split Pea Soup with Fresh Corn

2 cups split peas, with water to cover for soaking
1 ham hock (or pork leg bone)
10 cups or so water
2 bay leaves
2 teas. salt
1/4 teas. pepper
small bunch of fresh sage leaves, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 ears fresh corn, shucked and sliced off the cobs
2 tablespoons fresh, flat leaf parsley, chopped

First off, let the split peas soak, covered with water, while preparing the rest, and drain when ready to add. Cover the ham hock with the 10 Cups water and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer a few hours, with a bay leaf or two, the sage, salt and pepper, before you add in the veggies and soaked, drained peas.  Cook until the peas are soft and then puree part of the soup, if desired, in an electric blender.  Add back to the remaining soup with the corn and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.  Garnish with the parsley before serving.

The contrast of fresh corn with mushy peas is wonderful.  Perfectly delish and quite comforting if I do say so, especially when accompanied by some freshly baked bread and a good slathering of butter.  I'll share all the goodness with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event, with Simona for this edition of her Novel Food, and Souper (Soups, Salad and Sammie) Sundays, hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.  Look for lots of great book and cooking ideas at those links.


Tina said...

I'm copying this recipe!

Carole said...

It's cold and foggy here today so your soup would be perfect - a real pea souper! Cheers from carole's Chatter

Vicki said...

My daughter used to sneak bags of split peas into my grocery cart instead of candy or ice cream. She'd love this soup!

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

Someone just brought in a stack of Alexander McCall Smith books to our shop in pristine condition, he is very popular with our customers. Your soup looks delicious too.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Split pea soup is one of my favorites and this looks delicious. I really do need to read some Alexander McCall Smith. I've only read his adaption of Jane Austen's Emma.
Thanks for sharing your soup with Souper Sundays. ;-)

Beth F said...

Split pea is also one my all-time favorite soups. I know what you mean about series ... there's always a hook at the end to make you keep reading. I haven't read this series, but it's on my list.

Simona Carini said...

I could sit down at a bowl of your soup any day, especially on one of those foggy ones that keep us cool here in Northern California. Do you grow corn in your garden? Here the season is starting and can't wait! I didn't know about this other series by McCall Smith so thank you for sharing one of its volumes with Novel Food.

Debra Eliotseats said...

I love the cover art of this book. Sounds like an interesting premise. Inspired soup, Claudia!

Ali said...

I love McCall Smith's other books, but haven't read this series yet! What a great looking recipe - it just sounds comforting.