Split pea soup is one of the most comforting things to have during a long cold winter. It is stick to your ribs food and warms your insides. Other cities have flowers blooming but my city has snow and ice. Dried split peas are humble quiet little things, giving simple sustenance. They are economical and handy to keep in the cupboard, and require no overnight soaking. Try making my simple split pea soup the next time you are in need of a little comforting. Don’t bother eating soup from a can, spend a bit of time putting the soup together yourself and you’ll have the satisfaction of listening to it bubbling quietly on the stove while you relax and read a book.
Split Pea Soup*
2 tbsp oil
1 small onion, diced
1⁄2 carrot, diced
1⁄2 stick celery, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
1⁄2 tsp dried thyme, optional
225 g dried split peas (yellow or green)
1 small potato, peeled and diced
150 – 300g smoked pork ribs or ham hock or piece of ham
6 cups hot stock or water
salt and pepper to taste
Sort through the split peas looking for small stones, rinse with water and drain. In a heavy pot over medium heat, gently cook the onion, carrot, celery until softened. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme and cook for 2 minutes to mellow the garlic. Add the split peas, potato, smoked pork ribs or ham, stock or water. Cover the pot partway and simmer for 1 -2 hours or until the peas start to disintegrate. Be sure to stir every so often so the soup doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn. The cooking time will depending on the age and moisture of the split peas.
Remove the meat, let cool and shred or cut into bite sized pieces and return to the soup. Simmer uncovered over low to medium heat until it reaches the thickness you desire. Be sure to stir periodically so the soup doesn’t catch on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper to taste.