Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rainy Day Split Pea Soup

After all my complaining about hot and humid weather, Mother Nature flipped a switch and shot us straight into temperatures cold enough to turn on the furnace and want to snuggle by the fireplace.

Is it just me or does anyone else hear evil cackling?

Consequently, I went for a bracing soup this week. Based on a recipe in The Best of Gourmet 1988, it's been a favorite of mine for a long time. I've monkeyed with it, of course, but it turns out delicious every time. The good news is that it's an easy recipe in that everything basically goes into a big pot and simmers for three hours. The bad news is that after ignoring the soup for three hours, it needs to be pureed, which is messy but worth doing because it results in a lovely velvety texture.

The original recipe called for 10 cups of water, but I prefer the denser consistency achieved by using less water. If you don't have kielbasa handy, the recipe also works with pork chops or ham. I think it's best if you have leftover pork bones to toss into it (be sure to take them out before pureeing!). It's a nice way to use the leftover bone from a ham. Kielbasa probably adds more flavor since it's already laden with spices, but I've made it many times with ham and it's always great. On one notable occasion, since I didn't have an onion, I substituted an entire bulb of garlic, chopped. It was still delicious.

One other big bonus is that this can be made ahead of time. It keeps nicely in the fridge for a couple of days. Serve by the fire with a loaf of crusty bread and a creamy cheese.

Rainy Day Split Pea Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion (or, should you be avoiding vampires, 1 entire garlic bulb)
1 pound dried split peas
2 cups carrot slices (about 5 average carrots)
3/4 cup sliced celery
1 kielbasa
1 ham bone (or several pieces of leftover bone from pork)
8 to 10 cups of water
1 large bay leaf
salt (to taste -- depends on how salty the kielbasa is)

Over medium low heat, melt the butter and saute the onions until soft. Add the peas, carrots, celery, kielbasa, pork bones, water and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and simmer for three hours. Hint: for a thicker soup use 8 cups water, 10 cups for a thinner soup.

Puree in a blender or food processor. Hint: no matter how large your food processor or blender, do this in batches and pour them into a large container so you can stir them all together when done. Serve hot.

If you want to dress it up, toss some croutons on top. No croutons? Use mini cookie cutters to cut pieces of soft bread and toast them at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Add to soup at last minute as a garnish.



  1. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I love split pea soup. Have a great weekend.

  2. That sounds amazing! Pea soup reminds me of childhood 'cause it's the only time I ate my veggies.

  3. Thanks, Susan. Hope your weekend is terrific, too!

    That's interesting, Juju! I'm surprised you didn't shy away from pea soup if you didn't like vegetables. Glad to bring back good memories!

    ~ Krista

  4. Krista, sorry about the rain, but lucky us for the recipe. I love this soup. Love my Gourmet cookbook. I actually don't puree the soup. It's lovely when it's lumpy, too. BTW, you can also dress it up with a shredding of Paremsan. (Who'd have thunk I'd suggest that! LOL)


  5. You are so right. Soup season is suddenly here(and I do hear evil cackling, lol). Wish I had this bowl in front of me right now; it looks so delicious. Love your tip on creating fast, fun croutons with mini cookie cutters. I have a mini heart cutter (hardly ever use it) and now I can't wait to put it to use. Thank you, Krista.

    Have a great weekend,
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. Yes! I put parmesan on mine, too. (I put it on almost everything, lol.) I make mine in the crockpot and it comes out quite smooth without needing any pureeing. And it's ready when I get home from work.

  7. Avery, I'm shocked that you would even think of adding cheese. LOL!

    Cleo, I love mini cookie cutters. They're useful for so many things. Hope you have a good weekend, too!

    Peg, I'm all for easy cooking, but I really think pureeing elevates this recipe to something special. I love that velvety texture!

    ~ Krista

  8. Yum! I'm getting into soup mode here, too. Evil cackling is right! And I think y'all may have gotten a lot of rain from Tropical Storm What's-Her-Name?

    This looks like an easy recipe for me and I like that I could make it ahead of time and then serve it at my leisure! Thanks, Krista!

  9. What's-Her-Name is to blame for the soup, Elizabeth! At least she filled our wells after the dry summer months.

    This is the kind of recipe I love to make ahead if I don't know when house guests will be arriving. I can simply heat it whenever they show up.

    ~ Krista

  10. Krista,
    Thanks so much for this recipe. Mr Nanc just asked for split pea soup today. I have never thought of the addition of kielbasa or pork bones, but I think it is absolutely brilliant! Also have thought to puree it...
    Will add all the needed ingredients to the shopping list and put it on the menu this week :-)