Tasty, you bet. To the eye, it has the most unfortunate color and often sludgy texture. But close your eyes, and you will be transported to soup heaven. Rich, flavorful, nourishing and comforting split pea soup has global appeal. Vegetarian versions are as equally satisfying as those made with ham or bacon.
Split pea will always be a nostalgic, family soup. It doesn’t remind us of our favorite gourmet restaurant or our most memorable meal, instead, it is a soup that soothes, calms, and makes us feel nurtured, at home, comfortable.
Split Pea Soup
Herbed Split Pea Soup Recipe
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 inner celery stalks, with leaves, sliced
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 t. red pepper flakes
- 16 oz. green split peas, picked over and rinsed
- 1 meaty ham bone, plus reserved diced ham
- 3 medium red rose potatoes, cooked, peeled, diced
- parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, bay
- garlic chive blossoms (optional)
I make split pea soup with the leftover spiral-cut ham after Thanksgiving every year.
Split peas are a variety of field peas grown specifically for drying. When the skins are removed during the dehydrating process, the peas naturally split in half.
Sauté onion, celery, and carrot in olive oil in a large soup pot until softened. Add red pepper flakes, sauté another minute. Add the meaty ham bone and cover with filtered water. Add split peas, garlic, 3 or 4 bay leaves, a sprig of fresh rosemary and several sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring to a boil, skimming any scum from the surface. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the peas have almost all disintegrated. This assures that the texture won’t be sludgy. Remove ham bone, bay leaves and the sticks from rosemary and thyme. Add salt to taste.
Fry fresh sage leaves in butter (I use Smart Balance) until lightly crisp, remove to a paper towel. Add diced ham and potato to the soup. Simmer another 10 minutes. Lastly, add fresh chopped parsley. Ladle soup into warm bowls. Garnish with a sprinkling of parsley and fried sage leaves (and chive blossoms if available).