Thursday, April 29, 2010

Split pea soup

Well, sports food fans, this is turning out to be quite the green week without any sort of planning at all.  I mean, I've noticed that during shopping trips, I sometimes tend to gravitate toward certain colors (perhaps because I'm wearing that very color) or I'm just in a mood for purple that day.  Maybe it's the onset of spring and the idea that produce is going to become much more inexpensive for the next few months (hooray!).  Maybe it's that I love to eat with my eyes first, and pretty colors excite me.  Or maybe, it's just because I had a hankerin' for vegetables after some sugar overload weekends.  Whatever the case may be, I haven't been disappointed or gotten bored.  I've just been saving some recipes to post at a later date and this, being a week late, seems to fit in perfectly after all.  Ramble ramble ramble.  Bring on the green, I say!  Bring on the food, you say!

[soup on my favorite little green tray]

There are so many perks to this recipe and since it's a little late and I'm not quite in the mood for well-transitioned paragraphs, I declare that it's time for a list.  And I loooooooove lists.

1. The colors in this soup absolutely make me want to shout from the rooftops, "Ye who are hungry, come feast with me on this most beautiful and delicious soup!"  Orange!  Green!  Pink!  White!
2. For a mostly (or all, if you'd prefer) vegetable soup, it is unbelievably hearty and satisfying and chock-full of flavor.  Proof: a certain meat and potatoes guy was "stuffed" after a bowl of this splendor.
3. It's so easy to prepare, partly because split peas are one of the most fool-proof ingredients ever.  No no, don't think that these require the same attention that dried beans do with the rinsing, soaking, cooking, soaking, and on and on.  Just pour the peas into the hot liquid and they cook on their own in about 40 minutes.
4. It is jaw-droppingly inexpensive.  A one pound bag of split peas will run you about $1.  Carrots... maybe $2.  Three little potatoes... oh gosh, I don't know.  $1.29/lb ish?  Garlic and the rest of the seasonings are basic pantry items, so I'll skip those.  One onion... again, cheap.  And though I used chicken stock for about $2/32-ounce container, I've used water previously and gotten the same great taste.  A slice of ham is optional.  And for how much this makes, it is so worth it!
5. Have I mentioned the flavor?  Oh my goodness.  Just trust me.  DEE-LIH-SHUSS! 

Parker's Split Pea Soup
(from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)
-yields roughly 10-11 cups

1 cup chopped yellow onion (one medium onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced carrots (3-4 large carrots or 1 bag of baby cut carrots)
1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
1 pound dried split green peas
8 cups low sodium chicken stock (so you can control the salt in the soup)
2 cups chopped ham steak, optional

In a large stock pot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of the split peas, and all of the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.  Skim off the foam while cooking.  Add the remaining split peas, and  ham (if using) and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft.  Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom of the pot.  Remove from heat, and taste for salt and pepper, season as needed.  Serve hot with some super crusty bread.

Store in sealed container in refrigerator for up to a week, or portion out cooled 1 cup servings in sandwich bags and freeze for later reheating.  I find that after the first night of storing in the fridge, the contents tend to absorb even more of the liquid, making for a rather stiff soup.  I add 1-2 more cups of water and stir gently with a spoon until the right soup consistency is reached.


  1. if i don't want the soup to be "meat", can i get away with no chicken stock? ...or substitute?

  2. hahaha Daniel=me...although I'm sure Dan had a similar question