The last weekend in October is all about remembering the dead. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, All Saints’ Day or All Souls Day (Dušičky in Slovak) was the busiest time for travel in Slovakia, with people crossing the country to visit cemeteries, bring flowers and light candles on the graves of their deceased relatives. Back from the cemetery and in the warmth of their homes, families would get together to share a meal and talk.
Last year was different. When the numbers of Covid infected people had rocketed towards the end of October, the first national screening for the virus was carried out at Dušičky. Instead of travelling and gathering at cemeteries or inside our homes, we were asked to get tested and isolate.
Our cemeteries have filled with more graves since last October. We haven’t defeated the virus yet, but we are building a shield against it by getting vaccinated. Let’s hope it will work.
Back from a long walk in the countryside today, I cooked this simple yet satisfying soup to celebrate another beatiful day bestowed on us by Mother Nature. I will be lighting a candle at home tonight and thinking of those who haven’t made it this far.
Comforting Carrot and Yellow Pea Soup
Serves 4 – 6
- 200 g dry yellow peas
- 6 medium size carrots (about 250 g)
- about 2 l water
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 small onion, peeled
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- a few green celery twigs to garnish
- Rinse the yellow peas in a sieve under running water. Transfer to a cooking pot, cover with water and let stand overnight.
- Add more water to the peas and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, watching carefully, as the peas tend to boil over. Reduce the heat to a simmer, skimming any foam that forms on the surface. Cook for about an hour.
- Meanwhile, peel, wash and slice the carrots. Add them to the peas halfway through the cooking. Peel, wash and dice the potatoes. Add them to the pot together with the onion, bay leaves and the seasoning. Rinse and chop the celery greens.
- When all the vegetables are tender, turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaves and the onion. Purée the other vegetables with a hand-held blender. Adjust for the seasoning, stir in the oil and divide into bowls. Decorate with the celery greens and serve immediately.
If you feel like a bit of meat in your soup, there is this yellow pea soup with fried frankfurters (or párky in Slovak) that might suit your taste.
Stay safe and healthy wherever you are in the world!