When I was a child, once or twice a year my father would say "let's go have pea soup for lunch!" We'd pile into the Rambler station wagon and drive two hours up the 101 freeway to Buellton, California. Our destination was Pea Soup Andersen's restaurant, and after waiting in line for a table, we'd eagerly finish up bowls of this magical stuff before making the long drive back home.
Although my current split pea soup recipe is very different from the famous Pea Soup Andersen's recipe, it still brings back memories of those special trips with my parents and brother.
Nowadays I add carrots, potatoes and ham to my split pea soup, and I prefer that it be a bit chunky instead of puréed. Want to try it? Here's what you need:
Split Pea Soup with Ham1 pound dried split peas
2 quarts chicken broth or water
ham bone or leftover ham, chunked
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of dried marjoram
2 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped (I used Yukon Gold)
Soak the peas overnight. I usually use the "overnight method" but this time I used the "shortcut" of gently boiling the peas for two minutes and then letting them soak for an hour or longer. Drain the peas.
Sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of butter or olive oil until the onions are soft, then transfer to a stockpot. Add half of the peas, the ham bone, salt and pepper and marjoram. (I used leftover ham, and waited to add it with the vegetables.) Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for an hour and a half. Stir occasionally.
Add the carrots, potatoes and the rest of the split peas. (Ina Garten, the "Barefoot Contessa," divides the peas like this so they all won't cook down to mush. We do like some definition in our soup.)
If you used a ham bone, remove it from the soup, cut the meat off the bone and return the meat to the pot. If you are using leftover ham instead, add it to the soup now. Return the soup to a simmer and continue cooking for an additional 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Thin with a little broth or water if you wish. Add more salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot. Warm it up a bit with a tiny dash of cayenne if desired.
What food brings back fond childhood memories for you?
Click here for my Soup Recipe Collection.
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