soup is a noble food. this may sound a bit like an “over the top” way to describe such a simple food, but i really believe that soup making is humbling. you chop, you saute, you simmer, you wait. if all the steps are done correctly, the product of your dedication tastes like love. soup is by far my favorite food to cook and serve. i hope that this post inspires you to make soup and love the process of doing just that. i made ham stock* with my leftover easter ham bone, but you can use chicken stock or vegetable stock for this recipe. i am a huge fan of pureed soups so most of my soup recipes are finished this way, but if you are more of a chunky soup person, leave off the last step and eat as is. if you haven’t tried many pureed soups, give it a try. all the ingredients blend in a beautiful way and seem to sing in the same tune, as opposed to just harmonizing.
split pea soup
makes 10 cups
16 oz split peas, sorted and rinsed
2 celery ribs, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed (no need to chop if you are pureeing this soup)
1 large bay leaf
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups stock (i used ham stock for this)
in a stock pot over med/high heat, saute the celery, carrots and onions in butter and olive oil. season generously with salt and pepper (it’s really important to season your vegetables early when making soup. if you only season at the end, your soup will just taste saltly as opposed to flavorful). once the onion is translucent (this will take about 5 minutes) add the split peas, garlic and bay leaf and saute for another 5 minutes. add the stock and bring to a simmer. continue to simmer, for about 40 minutes until the vegetables and split peas are soft and all the flavors are melded. remove the bay leaf and blend the soup with a stick blender (you can use a regular blender) until it’s smooth and creamy. check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. serve hot with a swirl of creme fraiche or sour cream.
this recipe can be the base for all kinds of different vegetable soups. just replace the split peas with another star like cauliflower or broccoli. experiment with different stocks and toppings. fried shallots or croutons are a great addition to smooth soups. soup freezes beautifully as well, so if you made too much, freeze some for later. once you master the art of making great soup, canned soup will be a thing of the past, and that’s exactly where it belongs!
*you can make ham stock using my recipe for chicken stock. just replace the chicken parts with a meaty ham bone. ham stock’s smokey flavor goes wonderfully with split pea, white bean or potato soups. if you don’t have a ham bone, hit up your butcher!