March 18, 2013
When the winter time is leaving your cooking uninspired, turn to a healthy soup as the centerpiece for a warm and filling meal. This split pea soup features dry split peas, which are easy to acquire, inexpensive, and packed with all the nutrients you would find in fresh green peas. The medley of accompanying vegetables adds flavor, texture, and color, plus more vitamins. If you would like to add more protein to the soup, you can make it with small pieces of meat, such as leftover ham, for additional flavor and nutritive value.
If you have ingredients for a double batch, this soup freezes and defrosts very well. You can freeze it in one large portion to make it easy to thaw and serve as an additional dinner or freeze it in serving-size portions for quick lunches to beat the winter blues.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 6 as main course or 8 as appetizer
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions
2 large carrots
2 ribs celery
3 cloves garlic
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups (1 lb.) dry green split peas
1 cup diced ham (optional)
- Use a sharp knife and cutting board to chop the onions into small pieces, measuring no more than 1/2 inch in any direction.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven and put the chopped onions into it when the oil has warmed, but before it starts smoking. Stir the onion and oil together immediately and continue stirring every few minutes as it cooks.
- Chop the carrots and celery into pieces measuring no more than 1/2 inch in any direction. After the onions begin to soften add the carrots and celery. Stir to combine and continue stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.
- Mince the garlic cloves and add them to the pot after the carrots and celery have been in for about 5 minutes. If you have preminced garlic, use 1 tablespoon of this in place of the 3 cloves of fresh minced garlic.
- Cook, stirring continually, for another minute.
- Add the water, vegetable broth, salt, black pepper and dried thyme. Turn the heat up to high to bring the liquid to a boil.
- Spread the split peas on a baking sheet and pick out any debris or pebbles you find. Put the peas in a colander and rinse them with cool water.
- Pour the peas into the pot and mix them into the other ingredients.
- If you are including ham or another type of meat, cut it into pieces measuring no more than 1/2 inch in any direction and add the meat to the soup.
- Watch the soup until it boils. At this point, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and ensure that it is simmering gently.
- Cook for about 70 minutes, or until the split peas have softened and the soup is thick. Stir every 15 minutes to prevent burning on the bottom.
- Add more water or broth if the soup is too thick, taste the soup, and adjust the seasonings if needed.
- If you want the soup to be smooth instead of chunky, puree it in batches in your blender or use an immersion blender to puree it right in the pot.
- Serve the soup with fresh bread as the main course or on its own as the first course.
If you want to prepare the recipe while you are away from home, it adjusts easily to a slow cooker. Use a frying pan instead of a large pot to complete steps 1 through 5, then transfer the vegetables into a slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook the soup on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours.