Every once in a while I crave a good split pea soup. It always brings back memories of frosty winter afternoons spent at my Grandma Robert’s house in Three Hills, Alberta. Her soup was nothing like the musty, pale sludge that comes from cans and chain restaurants. Nope, her split pea soup was thick and savory with strong ham flavor, a gorgeous vibrant green that beckoned tasting.
A week ago I looked my dwindling finances square in the eye and embarked on an Eat As Cheaply And Deliciously As You Can campaign. As I contemplated recipes and eyed my pantry contents, soup seemed to be the most economical route for menu planning. First I made a lovely Chicken Soup with Cilantro and Lime then tackled a hearty split pea.
There’s something quite soothing to me about rinsing and sorting dried peas and beans. Perhaps it’s reminiscent of playing with pebbles at the ocean’s edge, the hard legumes made smooth and slippery by the water, cascading through my fingers in a pleasing fashion. Whatever the reason, I like it. 🙂
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon bacon fat
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
16 ounce package dried split peas
8 cups chicken broth
1 package prosciutto, diced and fried until almost crisp
1 cup hot milk
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat bacon grease and fry onions until transparent.
- Add the garlic, bay leaf, and split peas and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the broth and prosciutto, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or more, until the peas are tender.
- Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Remove bay leaves and discard.
- Add the milk and, using a hand-held blender or potato masher, process until smooth. I like mine a bit chunky, so I only puree two-thirds of the mixture.