Thursday, February 27, 2014

Split Pea Soup [with a variation]

Let me start off by giving you a little history lesson.

I grew up hating split pea soup.  I despised it.  I avoided it at all costs.  Of course, I had manners, and parents, and because of those two factors alone, I have tried my fair share of split pea soup.  And not one has passed through my lips that I enjoyed.  Once I arrived fully in adulthood, and married, I never had to endure a spoonful of the awful stuff again.

Until about a year or so ago.

When we were doing our recipe testing, one of Brittany's recipe, a recipe for Split Pea Soup, went out to our testers and came back with wonderful reviews.  I was surprised to say the least -- not that Brittany had put together a terrific recipe -- but that there were people out there who actually liked split pea soup and were willing to try it.  My husband was one of those odd people.

One of Scot's favorite soups growing up was a split pea soup, made the traditional way with the ham-bone.  For obvious reasons, I had never made him this soup, and it wasn't until I saw how many rave reviews this particular recipe was garnishing that I decided to surprise him one night with it.

Much to my shock, and delight, I loved the soup, too.  Not just tolerated it, but actually loved it.  The secret ingredient?  Liquid smoke.  It's crazy amazing and probably one of my favorite "weapons" in the kitchen,

I recently saw a recipe somewhere for a split pea soup with sweet potato chunks in it, so I improvised the original recipe and ended up with the soup pictured below.  If a pureed soup isn't quite up your alley, then don't puree it, and consider the sweet potato alternative.  Both options are listed in the directions.

If you're a known split pea soup hater like I was, I encourage you to give this soup a try.

Split Pea Soup
Serves 8 (12 cups)
Feel free to half the recipe, but since it takes so long to cook, you might as well make enough for leftovers or the freezer!

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped carrots OR 4 cups of small-cubed sweet potatoes**
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 TBLS minced garlic
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 8 cups vegetable broth + 1 cup extra water
  • 1 lb, or 2 full cups, green split pea, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • salt and pepper to taste
--Saute onion, carrots, and celery 5 minutes 
-- Add the garlic and thyme and saute an extra minute
-- Add the broth, peas, and smoke.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
-- Add water if needed and puree until smooth.

**Sweet potato alternative: Omit the carrots and add the sweet potatoes in with the liquid and peas.  After the hour of simmering, add the water if necessary, but don't puree.

You can also throw everything into the crockpot and cook on high for 5-6 hours

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