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