Why It Works
- We keep it simple with aromatics, ham, and stock as the background for green split peas.
- Puréeing the soup with a blender produces a creamy and thick texture.
Let's face it: Pea soup is not an attractive dish. It's not even attractive in a down-home, plain kinda way. It looks like, well, like something that is projectile-vomited out of Linda Blair's mouth.
Good thing it's got some pretty darn redeeming characteristics. It's cheap, filling, hearty, and deliciously smoky with ham, and the only downside is that it's ever-so-slightly fussy and time-consuming to make.
Traditionally, you'd start by sautéing some vegetables and diced ham or a ham hock in butter, then add the dried split peas and stock. You'd then let the whole thing simmer until the peas are fall-apart tender, which takes about an hour. (Al dente is not a feature you're looking for here.)
The peas will break down enough to form a creamy broth on their own, with little work required on your part. You can then you purée it with either an immersion blender or a countertop blender if you really want it creamy and thick.
3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced (about 6 ounces; 170g)
1 large rib celery, finely diced (about 4 ounces; 125g)
6 ounces (170g) ham steak, diced (see notes)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (450g) dried green split peas
2 quarts (2L) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, or water
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and ham and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Add peas, chicken stock or water, and bay leaves. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, and cover, leaving lid slightly ajar. Cook until peas are tender, about 1 hour. Remove ham hock, pick meat, and return to soup (if using). Roughly purée soup using an immersion blender, or purée in batches using a countertop blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
You can use a whole cured or smoked ham hock in place of the diced ham, or bacon or pancetta, if you prefer. If you use a hock, pick off the meat after cooking in step 2 and add it back to the soup, discarding the bone.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||16%|
|Total Carbohydrate 40g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 15g||53%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 11mg||56%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|