“Peas and Carrots, Carrots and Peas. Book come out, please, please, please!” That phrase of Princess Pea’s from Super Why has been haunting me like the March of the Toreadors, It’s a Small World and the music from Peter & the Wolf. Don’t you just hate when a song gets stuck in your head and drives you crazy? So you ask why is that phrase haunting me? Well this month for the Improv Cooking Challenge our hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker has challenged the participating bloggers to make any recipe of their choosing using the two specified ingredients of, you guessed it, peas & carrots, carrots & peas, let me figure this out, please, please, please!
If you don’t have a child or have never seen Super Why, what happens is that Whyatt, the main character gets a call on his computer in which he discovers that one of the other characters has a "super big problem". After investigating the problem Whyatt calls on all the "Super Readers" to come to the Book Club. There the four characters, Whyatt, Pig, Red Riding Hood, and Princess Pea gather. Whyatt plugs in his Super Duper Computer and uploads data about the problem and they all discuss it. Once the problem is discussed, Whyatt says, "When we have a question, we look ... in a book!" Pig always asks, "Which book should we look in?" and in response, Princess Pea casts a magic spell to summon the appropriate book: “Peas and Carrots, Carrots and Peas. Book come out, please, please, please!” The book then magically descends from the shelves. Whyatt, invites the audience to read along, summarizes the problem faced by the book's characters and drawing a parallel to the problem the Super Readers are trying to solve. The Super Readers follow the storyline to solve the problem applying their literacy skills to change the story when needed to overcome any obstacles. Throughout the story they are rewarded with red glittery "Super Letters" which are uploaded into the Super Duper Computer, eventually forming the words that make up the solution to the "super big problem." Yes I know, for those of you who have never experienced the show you now feel like you have a “super big problem” and have missed out…or maybe I have a “super big problem” as I know oh-too much about this show. I’m just glad that Maisie’s outgrown the show…even if it is still haunting me there’s hope that the haunting will end.
So now that you’ve read this far, let me tell you that I could have used Whyatt, the Super Readers and a magical book as I was at a complete loss as to what to make using peas & carrots. That was until I had my DUH… moment. I seriously for an entire month had been wondering what on earth to make using peas and carrots and then I just wasn’t feeling well, our weather was cold and stormy and I wanted to make some comforting soup, my Mom’s Beef Vegetable Soup. I was writing out my shopping list, beef, split peas, barley, string beans, yellow squash, parsnips, carrots, lima beans, mushrooms… and light dawned on Marblehead… peas & carrots, carrots & peas, I had found my recipe, please, please, please!
My Mom doesn’t remember if it was her Mom or my Dad’s Mom who originally made this soup but either way it’s been made my entire life and has always been a favorite of mine. Of course the recipe below can be cut down but just like my Mom does, I make the recipe as written which makes a huge, and I mean HUGE pot of soup. I then freeze individual sized portions so that anytime I crave this delicious, comforting soup, it’s there in the freezer, ready to be eaten after just a few minutes of defrosting and heating in the microwave.
Peas & carrots, carrots & peas, try & enjoy this soup, please, please, please!!
- 6 lbs. beef (flanken, beef short ribs, chuck steak)
- 2 – 3 lbs. beef marrow bones (optional)
- 1 lb. dried split green peas
- 1/3 lb. barley
- 6 oz. dried baby lima beans
- 1 1/2 lbs. fresh string beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 lbs. fresh baby carrots, cut into coins
- 3 lbs. fresh yellow summer squash, cut into half rounds
- 3 small fresh parsnips, peeled & cut into coins
- 1 lb. fresh white button mushrooms, sliced
- Better than Bouillon beef soup base
- sea salt to taste
In a very large stock pot add the meat and marrow bones and cover with 3x the depth of water. Add the peas, barley & lima beans to a cheesecloth or put into a colander and suspend into the water. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the meat is tender and the peas, barley & lima beans are soft. Skim the soup as needed. Once everything is soft, empty the contents of the cheesecloth/colander into the beef stock and add the string beans, carrots, summer squash, parsnips, mushrooms and soup base to taste. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked and soup has thickened to desired consistency. Add salt to taste.
My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:
February 2013 Hearts & Flours: Three Ingredient Fudgy Nutella Brownie Bites
January 2013 Bananas & Nutmeg: Baked Bananas
December 2012 Chocolate & Marshmallows: White Chocolate Marshmallow Cranberry Cashew Bark
November 2012 Sweet Potatoes & honey: Sweet Potato Glass Noodles with Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp
October 2012 Oatmeal & Raisins: S’mores Granola Bars
September 2012 Zucchini & Brown Sugar: Zucchini with Onion & Brown Sugar
August 2012 Tomatoes & Peppers: French Fries Hash Browns
July 2012 Corn & Butter: Fritos Crusted Pollock
June 2012 Cherries & Almonds: Dried Cherry Almond Tart
May 2012 Strawberries & Cream: Strawberry Soup
April 2012 Peanut butter & Jelly: Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
March 2012 Potato & Cheese: Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole
February 2012 Ginger & Carrots: Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
January 2012 Lemon & Sour Cream: Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart
December 2011 Eggnog & Cranberries: Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter
November 2011 Pumpkin & Cream Cheese: Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake
October 2011 Caramel & Apples: Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies