Split Pea Soup

Pea soup is one of those things - you either love it or hate it.  I love it.  I find it so comforting.  And we've had almost a week of sick kids here, and so a comforting soup sounded good to me (but there was no way I was even going to offer green soup to sick kids!)  The funny part is - I can't stand peas.  They are one of the very few things that I just do not like to eat.  I've tried them every possible way and they just don't work for me.  But I love split pea soup.  I've made this for years, the old classic way - with a ham hock - and it so good.  But this time I wanted to try a little different and see if I could still get all that great flavor.  I think I succeeded.   And in fact, I've eaten so much of this in the last few days, that I might have given myself a stomach ache. www.whatlisacooks.com I always have excess produce waiting to be used, from our weekly organic produce delivery, so I look for ways to use it.  So for this version, I skipped the usual onions and carrots, and instead I used leeks, celery and parsnips.  I thought about adding carrots too, but skipped them because 1) the only carrots I had were purple and I thought that might make the soup a very unappealing color, and 2) I knew the parsnips were going to add sweetness, and I didn't want to over do it.

Ingredients (roughly):

  • 1 pound dry split peas
  • approx. 8 cups broth or water
  • olive oil
  • 3 leeks
  • 2 parsnips
  • several stalks of celery
  • poultry seasoning
  • garlic
  • salt
  • pepper

Full disclosure - I had set out intending to make this a vegetarian soup.  But I looked in my freezer and saw two quarts of home made chicken stock that was just calling my name.  So I used it.  But I think this would be really good made with just water, just adjusting the seasoning a bit to add more flavor.  I diced the leeks, celery and parsnips and sautéed them with a bit of garlic, salt & pepper in a little olive oil until they were getting soft.  Then I added in the dry peas and the broth and a couple shakes of poultry seasoning.  There's no special reason for the poultry seasoning - just laziness (yes, I cut corners, especially when I have sick kids in the house). I was thinking that some thyme and sage sounded good, I opened the cabinet and saw the poultry seasoning, and so I used that.  Then I just let it all simmer all afternoon, adding a little water at one point when it looked like it needed more.  You could absolutely do this in a slow cooker.  When everything was really soft, I stuck my immersion blender in the pot and blended until really smooth.

This is a really easy soup to make.  And I really loved the flavor from the parsnips - I've never done it that way before but I definitely will again.  They added some sweetness, but also a little more interesting depth of flavor versus just using carrots.  I've been eating this for lunch every day this week. I love to have it with a somewhat generous amount of seasoned salt sprinkled on top.  Or better yet - a spicy seasoned salt - my personal favorite is Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning.


Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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