1 lb bag of yellow split peas
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 teaspoons Spanish spice blend
fresh parsley and, if you like, cilantro
salt to taste (one teaspoon or less)
Pour the split peas into a large pot. Look them over, pushing them around, and remove any bits of stones or dirt. Rinse the peas 2 or 3 times.
Add enough water to the pot so that the peas are covered by 2 to 3 inches of water. Bring them to a boil. Simmer for half an hour. When the peas begin to soften, add the bay leaf and carrot and continue simmering.
Meanwhile, saute the garlic in the olive oil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the oil cool some. Add the Spanish spice blend. Stir. Add this mixture to the simmering peas.
Let the soup simmer until the peas are quite soft. Add salt to taste (It doesn't need much, thanks to the spices, making this a good soup for people on a low-sodium diet). Just before serving, add handfuls of fresh chopped parsley and--for an Extremaduran or Canary Island touch--a handful of coarsely chopped cilantro.