In honor of the Super Bowl I’m posting a recipe for a Super Bowl of Soup. I know. I’m ridiculous. I’m okay with that. This recipe for split pea soup is a favorite among my friends and is often requested even by people who “don’t ever like pea soup.” I’ve always liked pea soup, and this is by far my favorite recipe. It’s made with Canadian bacon, which adds a nice smoky flavor but not a lot of fat (or calories). It’s creamy, smooth, hearty, and reheats well. It’s also one of the only ways I can get my children to eat green vegetables. This recipe can be doubled, and often is at my house.
Super Split Pea Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-2 cups carrots, diced (depending on how much carrot you want in your soup)
6 ounces bacon, diced
1 bag dried split peas (green or yellow), sorted to remove any non-pea items (pebbles, etc.)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 cups chicken stock (If you have homemade stock on hand, great, if not you can use boxed or canned or bouillon cubes or some combination of all of them.)
In a large stock pot melt butter in olive oil until butter is completely melted and bubbly. Add diced carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots begin to caramelize a teeny bit (if your carrots are too wet when you add them, this won’t happen, so dry them off first, and if for some reason they still don’t start to caramelize it’s no big deal—the caramelization just adds an extra touch of flavor but it’s not essential).
Add your diced Canadian bacon and stir. Add the split peas and stir.
Pour in your 8 cups of chicken stock. Add the bay leaves and the thyme.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for anywhere from one to two hours, until you have a creamy, thick soup. (The time varies depending on the brand of peas, and sometimes depending on the bag of peas. If the soup is getting thick but is still grainy, add more stock or plain water and continue cooking—-it will become creamy eventually!)
Once the proper texture is achieved, fish out the bay leaves (or offer a prize for the diner who finds them) and serve immediately! Note: Pea soup thickens as it cools. If you allow it to thicken, simply thin it out with a tiny bit of water while you reheat it—this will be necessary when reheating any leftover soup and it in no way compromises the flavor of the soup.
I love to serve this soup with warm, toasty sandwiches—some family favorites include grilled ham and cheese, warm cheesy chicken salad on buttered toast (recipe to be given in future blog), or any kind of Panini. It’s also great served with some nice fresh hot bread (or rolls) and butter.
Let me know if you make it and what you choose to serve with it! Enjoy!