Unfortunately for me, growing up I never knew a good pea soup, let alone one outside of the school cafeteria. My mom didn’t make pureed soups from scratch often, so for me the words “Split-Pea Soup” conjured up images of gelatinous vats of over-salted green-gray mush, not unlike in the Exorcist, that would send me running from the cafeteria when appearing on the menu.
So, it’s not a surprise that a couple of weeks ago when Sarah expressed an interest in making a batch after picking up some dried split-peas at the grocery, I needed a little convincing before I was ready to revisit that childhood memory. I’m sure that not all of you grew up detesting pea soup, but after one taste of Sarah’s simple and satisfyingly creamy concoction topped with crunches of bacon and sweetened slightly by carrots, I dropped all previous stereotypes of the heartily-satiating dish. Highly recommended for cold, wintry nights alongside a chewy piece of sourdough.
Recipe: Sarah’s Split-Pea Soup
Makes 4-6 hearty servings (for an entire single dish meal)
- 1 lb dried split peas
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
- 1 cup yellow/white onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 quart your broth of choice
- 1 quart water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Saute the roughly chopped vegetables with the olive oil in your soup pot.
- Rinse the split peas and make sure there isn’t any debris.
- When the onions are translucent, add the peas, seasonings and liquids to the pot. Stir and cover. Let simmer for 45 minutes.
- Taste the peas to check for firmness. When the peas are soft (they may need 15-30 more minutes at this point), turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. If using an immersion blender, go ahead and puree the soup right in the soup pot until everything comes through smoothly. If using an upright(?) blender, allow the soup to cool a bit to make the process a bit safer.
- Taste and add liquid (if too thick), salt and pepper to taste. The soup should be velvety and thick enough to coat a spoon.
Serve with a side of crusty sourdough bread, or garnished with some fresh ground black pepper, crispy fried onions, croutons, or even crumbled bacon.
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About this author: My approach to food has always been to taste first and ask questions later, which is why I am attracted to or at least interested in nearly every type of flavor food can exhibit. With an extensive background of study in the language and culture of Japan, I initally became interested in food preparation with regards to traditional homestyle dishes such as niku-jaga ("meat and potatoes" stew) and atsu-age tofu, but one thing led to another and food began to "consume" my brain in a way that started showing up in everything I cooked from then on. This blog serves as another step on the path towards my culinary enlightenment *^_^* Read more from this author...