Split Pea Soup

It’s been pretty chilly here in Baltimore lately (or course today, when I finally get around to posting this, it’s supposed to over 60 degrees.) I even wear a jacket to school in the morning these days.

When it starts to get cool, Mommy likes to make soup. She has a few favorites – sweet potato & leek, mushroom, roasted tomato… But this week she wanted something hardy so she decided to give split pea a try. We had a packet of soup mix that just needed water and ham added to it, but it only made two servings, so Mommy made it from scratch. It was really pretty easy. And, other than being a little salty, it was really tasty.

Mommy also made some delicious rye bread to go with our soup. She cheated a little on this one and used Bob’s Red Mill rye bread mix. It was delicious though – maybe even my favorite part, but I’m partial to carbohydrates!

Soup is really pretty easy to make and I bet you have the ingredients for some kind of soup right in your pantry right now. For this one, we started by sweating one onion, diced.

Then we added two carrots, diced.

To that we added lots of freshly ground black pepper, salt (to taste – we probably added too much not thinking about the amount of salt the ham hocks would add,) and a couple of bay leaves – be sure to fish these out at the end, they make soup yummy but aren’t good to eat.

Then we added two cans of chicken stock (about 28 oz total) and one cup of split peas (rinsed.) We added the peas after the stock and they sank to bottom, so you can’t see them in the picture, but they’re in there (you can see the green just under the surface of the stock.) Finally, we had two ham hocks in the freezer and we put them in the pot. Split pea soup usually has some ham in it. If you don’t have hocks, you can chop up a ham steak or a piece of thick cut deli ham. If you’re a vegetarian, you can omit the ham and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. You can also make your own stock, but that’s another posting.

Here’s the best part… now you just turn the stove down to medium-low, cover the pot and let it cook. It should simmer for at least an hour, but letting it go all day won’t do any harm. Just before serving,i f you used ham hocks, like we did, take them out and cut any meat off them and return it to the pot. Serve piping hot with some yummy bread – something whole wheat or rye or pumpernickel would be best with this soup.

Enjoy! And stay warm.

Split Pea Soup

1 cup dried split peas, rinsed and drained

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

salt and pepper, to taste

2 bay leaves

28-32 oz of chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or even water) – less stock means a thicker soup

2 ham hocks (or 1/2 cup diced ham)

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