One of the most fulfilling kinds of cooking for my family is cooking a nice soup or stew. It’s so comforting especially in cold weather, usually frugal, fills the house with fragrant aroma, and an indication that my day at least has dinner planned and already on the stove — all very satisfying feelings.
Split Pea Soup is one of the comfort foods I had growing up, although some siblings wouldn’t touch the green liquid. But when I have a leftover ham bone, I have to decide whether it will be red beans and rice or Split Pea Soup. The latter won this week. Yum!
This can be the easiest meal ever. The peas do not need to be soaked, as do dried beans, so after rinsing, put all the ingredients together, bring to a boil, then simmer a few hours and the main portion of your meal is done.
I use Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? by Marcelle Bienvenu as a basis for my recipe, although I add some changes. (I didn’t realize there’s a reprint in hardbound version. My paperback is worn and such an awkward size. I have to say replacing would be a temptation.)
Trader Joe’s sells a Mirepoix which saves that step of cutting and dicing the onions, carrots, and celery (the trinity in French cooking). It’s a luxury I’m glad I took since we’re under the weather here. My adapted version is below.
Split Pea Soup (serves 8-10)
1 pound dried split peas
1 ham bone, 2 ham hocks, or 2 cups diced ham (I didn’t have a large ham bone or lots of ham, so in the last step of adding the wine I added chopped kielbasa into the soup.)
3 quarts chicken broth and water (I use Imagine brand, 2 quarts broth, 1 quart water)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon ground thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and black pepper to taste
a few dashes Tabasco sauce
1 cup sherry or dry white wine
Put all ingredients (except wine/sherry) into a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Add white wine or sherry (and sausage) and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.
Serve with crusty French bread, Southern biscuits, or cornbread, perhaps a salad to round it all off.
I enjoyed a leftover bowl for lunch. It always seems to be better the next day. My son likes to help in the kitchen, but his question every time we make this is “What happened to the peas?”