Split Pea Soup

 

The winter looks and feels like it’s going to last forever. It snows every few days and we’ve had blizzards that have canceled schools or caused delayed openings and last weekend, my Valentine’s Day party was canceled because of bad weather.

I look out the French doors from the kitchen and see a snow covered screened-in porch with it’s empty chairs and the garden and trees embedded in a white blanket. It’s hard to remember sitting out there into the wee hours of the morning enjoying the peace and solitude. Looking out the front and down to the pool, the umbrellas stand like stewards, their bases invisible below the snow and the naked furniture, some of which has been blown to the other side of the patio, just begs for company. It’s hard to imagine that the pool is scheduled to be opened on May 8th, a mere eleven weeks from now. And, more snow and frigid temps are in our future.

Every winter, one of the first soups I make is Split Pea Soup. I make a large batch and freeze it in two-cup jars for lunch. Somehow the soup didn’t get made yet and today it was at the top of the todo list. It was ready by lunchtime and I had a large bowlful. It was very satisfying, like an old friend come to visit.

I like to cut the carrots into coins, instead of a dice, for appearance and for eating. I have found over the years that the ham pieces lose flavor when added at the beginning of the cooking. I take a small, six ounce piece of the ham and cut it in quarters, and use that to flavor the soup. About 30 minutes before the soup is done, I remove those pieces (save for an omelet or some other recipe) and stir in the cubed ham. One teaspoon Kosher salt is sufficient; the ham is salty and if more salt is needed, it can be added later. Add a little extra water if the soups is too thick.

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Split Pea Soup
Makes: Six 2-cup portions

Ingredients

2 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups diced onions
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
5 minced cloves of garlic
1 six-ounce chunk smoked ham, cut into four pieces
2 cups (1 pound) split peas, rinsed and picked over
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground
8 cups cold water
3 cups cubed smoked ham

Method

Heat the oil in a covered  7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, carrots and celery, reduce the heat to low, cover and sweat for ten minutes.

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Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant.

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Pick over the peas for any foreign objects and give a good rinse.

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Cut the six-ounce piece of ham into quarters.

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Add the whole ham piece, split peas, bay leaves, salt and pepper.

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Cover with water, stir and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 1/2 hours.

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Stir in the cubed ham and cook for another 30 minutes. The soup is perfect when the split peas have cooked down to a puree.

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If the soup is too thick, add a little water.

Split Pea Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: six 2-cup portions
 
I like to cut the carrots into coins, instead of a dice, for appearance and for eating. I have found over the years that the ham pieces lose flavor when added at the beginning of the cooking. I take a small, six ounce piece of the ham and cut it in quarters, and use that to flavor the soup. About 30 minutes before the soup is done, I remove those pieces (save for an omelet or some other recipe) and stir in the cubed ham. One teaspoon Kosher salt is sufficient; the ham is salty and if more salt is needed, it can be added later. Add a little extra water if the soups is too thick.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups diced onions
  • 1½ cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 1½ cups thinly sliced celery
  • 5 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 six-ounce chunk smoked ham, cut into four pieces
  • 2 cups (1 pound) split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground
  • 8 cups cold water
Method
  1. Heat the oil in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, carrots and celery, reduce the heat to low, cover and sweat for ten minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Pick over the peas for any foreign objects and give a good rinse.
  4. Cut the six-ounce piece of ham into quarters.
  5. Cover with water, stir and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 1½ hours.
  6. Stir in the cubed ham and cook for another 30 minutes. The soup is perfect when the split peas have cooked down to a puree.

 

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