Monday, April 13, 2009

This Week's Recipe: Easy Split Pea Soup

I used to hate split pea soup. Literally, my mom had to coax me into eating it every time she served it. I'd pinch my nose and swallow hoping that my two bites would be enough to make it go away.

Somewhere along the line my tastes changed.

It could possibly be from this recipe alone. Really, it's quite tasty! I've made this soup countless times and it's never failed me. My family loves it on a chilly day. Serve it up with a crusty bread (I often cheat and buy the 2-loaf pack of whole wheat baguettes from Costco) and some slices of cheddar cheese. I know it's springtime now, but try it out before it starts defrosting too much.

Easy Split Pea Soup
Bon Appétit | May 1996
by Patricia Murray: County Kerry, Ireland

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 1/2 pounds smoked pork hocks
2 teaspoons dried leaf marjoram
1 bay leaf*
1 1/2 cups green split peas
8 cups water
1 potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes*
1/2 cup of cooked, cubed ham chunks*

Melt butter in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add pork and marjoram; stir 1 minute. Add peas, then water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover pot; simmer soup until pork and vegetables are tender peas are falling apart, stirring often, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Transfer hocks to bowl. Puree 5 cups soup in batches in blender. Return to pot. Cut pork off bones. Dice pork; return pork to soup. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover. Rewarm before serving.)

Cook's Notes:
~I added the asterisked ingredients (I like potato and extra ham-- just add after pureeing)
~Needs longer than 1 hour 10 minutes-- probably about 2 hours
~Can be made in a crock pot (just add the potatoes and extra ham the last hour of cooking, after the soup has been pureed)
~I like to add more peas to make it a thicker consistency
~If you have an immersion hand blender, I highly recommend using it! A regular blender works alright, but the hand kind is MUCH easier.

Cami's questions:

Q: When did you start baking / cooking?
A: I can remember helping my mom in the kitchen from the time I was about 8. I made a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving that year and have been making it for my family every year since. My mom also let me help her make tortillas. I loved eating the dough!

Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
A: Heat-resistant spatulas

Q: Do you have a favorite spice? If so, what is it?
A: Garlic and maybe black pepper, too

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: A tough one! I love so many. Maybe "The Hiding Place," or "A Prayer for Owen Meany," or "Harry Potter" ...

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: The Greek Islands

Q: If you had to change your first name right now, what would you change it to?
A: I've always thought the name Ophelia was cool...

Q: Where do you currently live?
A: Goleta (Santa Barbara), CA

Q: Where are you from?
A: Van Nuys (The San Fernando Valley), CA

Q: If you could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Strawberries


Danielle said...

Any recommendations for celery substitutes? I hate celery... I could just leave it out but I'd rather substitute for a different vegetable.

Jeannie said...

Hmmm... maybe cabbage?? I would just leave it out, though. But I have to say that my husband HATES the taste of celery but loves this soup. He doesn't taste it in here and after it's pureed you can't even tell it's there at all.

Jeannie said...

I did find this site with these suggestions:

Substitutes: carrots (for snacking) OR fennel stalks (takes longer to cook) OR Chinese celery (This is a good substitute if the celery is to be cooked; Chinese celery has a more intense flavor than conventional celery.) OR bok choy (raw or cooked) OR cardoon (for cooking) OR jicama (for snacking or crudités)

LuAnn said...

Are smoked pork hocks a common item you can find at any grocery store? I've never heard of those. Has anyone in HP bought these yet?

Melanie W. said...

Jeannie (or anyone else) a few questions:
1. they don't have split peas where I shop here, do you think whole peas would work? would they cook the same?
2. I also haven't heard of pork you think any cut of pork would work ok? I'm not sure if I could even find pork hock.
3. Do you know of a good sub. for marjoram? that's another spice I'm not sure I could find here.

Thanks! This sounds yummy so I'm hoping I can make it!

Jeannie said...

LuAnn: Yes, you can find ham hocks at most supermarkets. I used to get them at the Mr. G's (53rd Street Co-Op) in HP. But I guess some other store is there now?

Here is a good explanation/description with pictures:

Melanie: 1. About the whole peas... that's a good question. Are they dried? Or are you talking about fresh peas? 2. See the link above. But I think any cut would do so long as it has a bone in it. That's what gives the soup its flavor. Ham hocks don't yield that much meat which is why I add the extra cooked ham. 3. I didn't have marjoram until recently. I used thyme before and it turned out good, too.

Melanie W. said...

Thanks for the explanation of pork hock! Yes, the peas are dried. I think I'll just use them and see how it turns out!