Sunday, March 07, 2010

Split Pea Soup: Great for tastebuds, not so much for hair.

Dude. So I'm basically a carnivore, right? I love veggies and carbs and all, but when it comes down to it, nothing wins me over like protein. (Unless it's cheese. Or kittens. But the latter not for eating, obviously.) So when I come across a recipe that is mostly made up of not-meat, and I'm raving about it, you guys should know that it is SERIOUS.

These days, my main obsession is split pea soup. Made with smoked ham, it's basically the best thing ever. It's silky and creamy and decadent, but the ingredients are surprisingly healhty. Best of all, if you've got a slow cooker, you just chuck everything in it, and let it bubble away. It's a no-fuss way to make your whole apartment smell absolutely mouthwatering. (Okay, so I guess there was one fussy moment when I got pea gunk in my hair. But I'm naturally super klutzy, and also I'd been drinking a lot of Cava. So for a normal sober person, it's not at all fussy.)

I found this recipe on Food and Whine, which is a lovely (Canadian!) food blog with lots of other recipes I'll be exploring. The only change I made was to subsitute some chicken broth in for the water.

This serves about 4 as an entree (serve with a nice salad and toast points, maybe) or 6 as an appetizer.

- 1 (16 oz./450 grams) pkg. dried green or yellow split peas, rinsed
1 meaty hambone or 2 ham (pork) hocks (or you could use 2 cups of diced ham, in a pinch.) [Edit: smoked ham is the best!]
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 ribs of celery plus leaves, chopped
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 tsp. seasoned salt or kosher salt (or to taste) [Go easy on the salt if you're using chicken bouillon]
- 1/2 tsp. (about 20 grinds) fresh pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth or bouillon
- 3 cups hot water


Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given in the ingredient list. Pour in hot water and bouillon. (Note: if you have a smaller slow cooker and all the water won't fit, pour in what will fit then add the rest later as it cooks and liquid is absorbed by the peas). Do not stir the ingredients. [You can also cook this on stove-top. Just put everything in a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. I like it better in the slow cooker (the flavour seems richer) but it's tasty either way.]

Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours (for best results) or on low for 8 to 10 hours until peas are very soft and ham falls off bone. Remove bones and bay leaf. Mash peas to thicken more, if desired. Serve garnished with croutons. [I did not do this, I just put it in my mouth as soon as it cooled enough. Could also shred some cheddar on it, or serve with toast points or tortilla chips] This soup freezes well. [Really, it does. I couldn't tell the difference after thawing and reheating. Amazing.]

This is the kind of soup that makes one happy about chilly weather. It's healthy, easy, and satisfying. What more could you want? Try it now!!!

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At 10:29 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can also make this soup with pork shoulder. This meat is fatty but, the soup comes out delicious! I cut all the fat off my pork shoulder and it still gives it a very nice taste and it has more meat then by using ham hocks.

At 4:14 p.m., Blogger The Glitterati said...

Mmm... great idea, thanks!

At 11:40 a.m., Blogger Alexa P. said...

I recently got a slow cooker so I can't wait to try this recipe - you make it sound so yummy!


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