|Split Pea Soup
One of the easiest of soups for a beginner to make is split pea. This remarkably simple yet delicious old fashioned soup packs a powerful comforting punch and is a great healthy dinner entrée. This version is vegetarian, while meat lovers might want to add the traditional smoked ham hock to simmer with the soup and add incredible smoky flavor. If you use the ham hock you should remove it towards the end of your cooking process, cut off the thick skin and discard it along with the bone, then rough chop the ham to stir back into the soup. Either variety is sure to become a favorite for a crisp fall day.
Split Pea Soup – By Debra Crawford
Serves 6 Entrée Portions
1 – Pound Green Split Peas, Sorted and Rinsed
1– Large Yellow Onion Diced, Approximately 1 ½ Cups
2 – Large Carrots, Peeled and Diced, Approximately 1 ½ Cups
2 – Stalks Celery, Diced, Approximately 1 Cup
3 – Cloves Garlic Diced
64 – Ounces of Vegetable Broth (or chicken broth if not making vegetarian)
2 – Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sour Cream to garnish (optional)
In large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion and celery. Sauté until beginning to soften, approximately 5 – 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Add the rinsed peas and enough broth to thoroughly cover the peas by 1 inch.
Heat to boiling, cover and reduce to simmer. Stir occasionally and add broth as needed to keep the peas just covered. They expand during the first half hour so make sure you keep an eye on them. If you use all the broth during this process and the peas continue to expand you can add water. When the peas have been cooking about an hour and are softening, stir thoroughly and taste for salt and pepper. Depending on your broth you may not need any.
Add the carrots and continue to cook until the peas and carrots are tender, about ½ hour more. Note, if you stir the soup frequently you will break down the peas giving you a smoother consistency or your can leave them chunky depending your preference. You can also blend with a wand or in batches in the blender if you wish to puree the soup, however, I like it a bit more rustic, so I stir the peas often up front to break them down and then let the diced carrots remain whole for a color contrast.
Ladle into bowls and add a dollop of sour cream if desired.