Gosh it’s cold out! Fortunately the sun is shining today and as I am typing I can hear some birds chirping and see the snow and ice melting off the roof of the house. We just had our first real snow in Raleigh, which made for some cozy quiet relaxing days. Luckily it’s over, because Grace and I are getting a little stir crazy. Snow makes for a gorgeous view and is fun to play in (for all of 20 minutes in my opinion), but I’d rather be inside (watching the snow) sipping some hot coffee and curled up with a good book or movie. We enjoyed a nice long family walk in the white and worked up quite the appetite. Wanting something warm and hearty, we have been enjoying this superb classic split pea soup the past few nights. I’m typically not a huge fan of leftovers, but man is this good. Chris and Grace can’t seem to get enough. I like to add a few small buttery potatoes for extra richness. This is an easy, healthy one-pot meal and great for families with an older baby or toddler. Split Pea soup has a smooth creamy consistency and is loaded with nutrition.
Classic Split Pea Soup
- Extra virgin olive oil & butter as needed
- 5-7 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 4-6 small golden potatoes, chopped
- 1 lb dry split peas
- 1 lb pork side pieces (or any form of ham or seasoning meat. There are two superb meat vendors at our farmers market who always seem to know exactly what I need for various dishes. The assorted pork side pieces gave us a great amount of meat as well as fat for flavor.)
- 2 dry or fresh bay leaves
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 quart good quality organic vegetable stock
- Salt & pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, on medium high heat, melt a few tablespoons of olive oil and butter and lightly saute the first 4 ingredients until slightly soft and some browning has occurred, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the peas, pork pieces and spices and give everything a good stir.
- Pour in the stock and enough water to cover everything. Season with salt and pepper and simmer on low for 1.5-2 hours. Add more water as needed. If you want the peas to stay whole simmer for less time. While this isn’t the most attractive soup, we all love it with the peas blended together.
- Optional step: remove some of the ham pieces, chop finely and fry until crisp and add as a crunchy topping.