Split Pea Soup

Another great tasting soup recipe from The Joanne Kates Cookbook. Perfect for warming up after tobogganing or cross country skiing or playing shinny on a cold winter afternoon.

I guess. I’m still hibernating.

If you are using a ham hock to make this, start the cooking the night before you intend to serve the soup. It’s so much easier to de-grease the soup if you’ve let it cool down after making the stock. I didn’t think far enough ahead this time and had just gone grocery shopping prior to making the soup, so had no room in my refrigerator for a giant stock pot. What to do? I put the pot in a big bag, tied the bag up and put it on my balcony overnight.

You’re thinking: Of course! That’s a brilliant idea. Except I have crazy squirrels living around here that think nothing of not only coming onto the balcony, but right inside my place. One time, I caught one of them hauling a bag of cookies (which I know now had been stored in an optimum squirrel access area) across the floor to the door. Happily, my stock survived the night on the balcony and I was able to finish the soup. Maybe the squirrels are hibernating too.

Here’s what making Split Pea Soup looks like.
Get a ham hock and put into a large stock pot.

Ham hock.

Ham hock.

Add the water, onion and herbs.

Hock, water, onion and herbs.

Hock, water, onion and herbs.

The next day, after the stock’s had the fat removed, add the peas.

Adding the peas (a whatfoodimade™ action shot).

Adding the peas (a whatfoodimade™ action shot).

Strip the hock of all the meat.

Smokey good ham.

Smokey good ham.

While the peas are cooking, prepare the other vegetables.
Before.

Yellow peas, onions, carrots, celery and garlic.

Yellow peas, onions, carrots, celery and garlic.

After.

Celery, carrots, garlic and onions, all chopped.

Celery, carrots, garlic and onions, all chopped.

Cook the onions.

Cooked onions.

Cooked onions.

And the carrots.

Cooked carrots and onions.

Cooked carrots and onions.

Then the celery and garlic are added and cooked.

Add the celery and garlic.

Add the celery and garlic.

All the vegetables are removed from that pan and balsamic vinegar is added and reduced some.

Balsamic vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar.

When it all comes together, you have Split Pea Soup.

Split Pea Soup.

Split Pea Soup.

The recipe is from The Joanne Kates Cookbook, 1984

I usually double this recipe and make enough for a small army, then freeze most of it in yogurt containers and use it When there’s no time to cook. You may omit the ham stock and substitute water or vegetable water for a perfectly acceptable soup that is (a) easier, (b) cheaper and (c) vegetarian.

The ham stock:

1 prosciutto end about 3″ long (from an Italian butcher) or 1 ham hock
8 cups cold water
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 onion, cut in half, each half stuck with 2 cloves

The soup:

1 cup green or yellow split peas
2 onions
2 Tbsp. butter
2 carrots
1 stalk celery, with leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

Making the ham stock:

1. The night before, put the prosciutto or ham hock in a large pot with the water, bay leaves, thyme and onion stuck with cloves.
2. Bring to a boil and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours.
3. Strain the stock. Let it cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Making the soup:

1. The next day, skim off and discard the layer of fat that has congealed on top of the stock.
1a. Cut any ham from the hock (if that’s what you used), chop it into bite-sized pieces and add them to the stock.
2. Add the split peas to the stock in a big pot. Bring to a boil and skim off the foam that rises to the top (it contains the impurities). Simmer, covered, 1 hour.
3. Peel and dice the onions. Sauté in the butter until golden but not brown.
4. Slice the carrots and add them to the onions, frying until they are golden.
5. Slice the celery and add it, frying until it has softened.
6. Peel and dice the garlic and add it, frying for 2 more minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan.
7. Remove pan from heat. Add the vinegar—stand back while it spits—and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom. Set aside.
8. Just before serving, add the fried vegetables, parsley, dill and salt and pepper to the split peas. Make sure everything is hot, mix well and serve.

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