Just because its nearly 100 degrees in Miami, it doesn’t mean my littlest one doesn’t feel like eating her favorite soup! (So I learned this weekend!) This is pretty much the tastiest, easiest and healthiest soup you can make. Both of my girls absolutely love it. So, when they actually ask for Split Pea Soup instead of pizza or pasta, I do all I can to get it ready as quickly as I can!
When they were babies, and just beginning to eat solids, I would puree the soup before serving so that they would have no problems with the bits of ham. I firmly believe that giving them interesting, complex “grown-up” foods at a young age has helped expand their palate and interest in foods and, come dinner time, I am very grateful!
This soup is hearty and one bowl will fill you up! You could always split the recipe in half, but I like to make a large batch since I know we’ll eat it one night, have leftovers maybe the next night, and the rest will be stored in tupperwares for the freezer! One small side note: I make a baked ham 2-3 times a year and I always freeze my left overs. I use the freezer-safe zip-close baggies and portion out amounts that will work for batches of soup like this one.
Split Pea Soup
1/2 small onion (or 2 leeks, white/light green part, rinsed well), chopped
3-4 carrots, diced (a handful of baby carrots will work just fine also!)
2 ribs of celery, diced
3/4-1 cup smoked/cooked ham (I prefer using leftovers from a baked ham, use the bone too, but store-bought is fine too)
2 (14-16oz) bags dried split peas
4 quarts chicken stock (2 big boxes of the low fat/no sodium/no msg store-bought stuff works, but homemade is better!)
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or about 1tbsp of dried)
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Sautee onions in olive oil in a pressure cooker or large pot. When translucent add carrots and celery. Sometimes, if I have a leftover bit of green pepper or zucchini, I add it as well. After a few minutes throw in the ham and bone if you have it. When it all begins to smell amazing add in the split peas – be sure to rinse them in a colander first in case there are any stones. Toss in the herbs and chicken stock, salt and pepper. I don’t add all of the stock right away. I like for the soup to be a creamy consistency, not watery, so I add about 3/4 of the liquid and, as it cooks, I can add more as needed. Don’t worry, though, if it is too watery you can almost always boil it down.
So, if you’re using a pressure cooker close up the pot, once you hit high pressure lower the temp so that it barely simmers for 15 min. Release pressure and check on the soup. If its too thick add more stock and simmer, if it’s too thin just let it boil down. If you’re not using a pressure cooker bring the soup to a boil, then lower the temp and cover so that it has a nice simmer for about 30-40 min. Be sure to stir every 10 min and add more stock as needed. This soup can get thick quick and will stick to the bottom of your pot if you’re not careful so keep a close eye on it.
This soup can easily become vegetarian and gluten-free by leaving out the ham and using a homemade veggie stock (be sure to check that any store-bought veggie stock is gluten-free since most have traces of gluten or yeast)
When you reheat the soup it will have thickened considerably, so be sure to add water or more stock when you warm it up.