Crock-pot Split-Pea Soup

Last Updated on Tuesday, 3 January 2012 02:00 Written by Flax Tuesday, 3 January 2012 01:54

Seasonal cooking calls for heavy winter soups and stews. The longer you cook a food, the more warming it is, and no soup needs to cook for longer than a split pea soup. My favorite way to cook split pea soup is in a crock pot. I toss in the peas  first thing in the morning, add some water and then forget about it for the rest of the day. The all day cooking makes the peas incredibly soft, and I think just the smell of the soup heats up the house.
If you happen to have more time in the morning then add the remaining ingredients first thing, otherwise add the rest of the ingredients at various times of the day when you have a few moments.  I find that the remaining ingredients work well on only 3-4 hours of cooking time.

Every crock pot cooks differently, I will tell you my method but keep in mind that your crock pot might cook faster or slower than mine. One of my favorite crock pot tricks  is to start off with boiling water. Using already boiling water cuts hours off of crock pot cooking time. When preparing split peas, I find it important to make sure that the peas cook for long enough (otherwise, pop out those pepto-bismols). Since this is a soup recipe and extra cooking time will only help, it’s preferable to have it cook for longer, so I advise starting out with boiling water.

Notice that I use an interesting combination of spices in this soup. The spices are part North African and part Germanic. Turmeric and cumin are more North African, while bay leaf and caraway seed are more German. While it is a strange combination, I find that they work well together. What is interesting for me is the similar and yet different roles these spices play.
Turmeric and bay leaf are very common spices used in foods as they both help with the digestion. They are used when cooking legumes to prevent flatulence and to promote proper digestion.
Turmeric, one of the most important spices, functions as a a liver cleanser.  Turmeric helps with the digestion of fats and oils and should be eaten every day.  Turmeric has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It is also a natural anti-viral and anti-biotic and it keeps our food as well as our bodies healthy by eliminating pathogens.
Bay leaf, while also a digestive aid, works primarily on the lungs. It is a pulmonary antiseptic and an expectorant and is a wonderful remedy for someone who has a cold or who is congested.


  • olive oil
  • 1/2 kilo split peas, (soaked overnight)
  • 4 liters boiling water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 1 kohlrabi or turnip, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 cup beer (optional)
  • 1 marrow bone (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Croutons and/or hot dog slices for garnish.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, saute the onions for 2 minutes and then add to the crock pot.  Discard the soaking water and add the peas to the crock pot as well.  Add the remaining ingredients, other than the salt.  Cook on high for a minimum of eight hours. Add the salt only after the peas have slightly softened.
If you prefer to cook the soup in two stages than put half of the water and all of the peas in the crock pot.  Cook on high for around 4 hours. At a convenient point mid-day, saute the onion and add them, along with the remaining ingredients, to the crock pot. Continue to cook on high for at least 4 more hours.

Garnish with croutons and hot dog slices (big hit with the kids!)

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Cooking Instructor and a Nutritional Healer.

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Simchat Torah Choucroute

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 10:50 Written by Flax Tuesday, 11 October 2011 10:19

Choucroute, a popular French dish, is traditionally eaten by Jews from Alsace-Lorraine on  Simchat Torah as well as on Purim. Choucroute, or choucroute garnie is French for dressed sauerkraut.  The word choucroute, pronounced Shoo-kroot,  is a phonologically francophonic form of the Alsacian word Sürkrüt, which is the German word for sauerkraut. This dish, German in origin became part of French culture after the French annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1648. The culinary preferences of the French and the Germans is extremely obvious in the ingredients of this recipe.  Both recipes call for fatty meats, sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut, the difference being that the Germans stew their dish in beer while the French stew their dish in white wine.

My wonderful readers might now be saying to themselves, “this dish doesn’t sound very healthy”.  So, here’s a little secret, this dish is about as unhealthy as you can get.  So to answer those of you who might be wondering why I make this dish, here’s the answer in a nutshell-my husband’s mother (z”l) came from Strausberg (hamevin yavin).

Two things I have learned about this dish.  First of all, people either love it or hate it.  Secondly it actually makes sense to serve it on Simchat Torah and on Purim.  Children, even children who have eaten a lot of candy can always find room for a hotdog and for grown-ups who like to have a l’chaim on these occasions, let me just say, this meal screams out for beer.

For those of you who are missing the healthy recipes, they will return next week, after the holidays are over.


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper corns
  • 2-3 cans sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed
  • 1 bottle Emerald Riesling, medium quality
  • 1 kilo (2.2 lb) corn beef
  • marrow bone (optional)
  • 12 frankfurters/sausages, assorted flavors (the stronger flavors are better here)
  • 6 chorizo sausages
  • 6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and halved


Heat the oil in a very large pot.  Lightly saute the onion until it begins to soften.  Squeeze and rinse the sauerkraut and add one of the cans.  Add the wine, spices, corn beef and the remaining sauerkraut. If necessary, add a little bit of water or some more wine so that the corn beef is completely covered.  Cover the pot and cook for two-three hours or until the corn beef is tender.  Add the chorizos, potatoes and assorted sausages and cook for thirty minutes more.

Serve hot on a bed of mashed potatoes.

Serves 12-15.

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