Is it as cold in your part of the world as it is in mine right now? I hope not because it’s only 12 degrees here..that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius. And it’s supposed to be like this for several days..yuck. And maybe some snow later today..double yuck. One of the only good things about this insanely cold weather is soup..hearty, filling, warm-your-soul homemade soup. But even if you’re one of the fortunate ones enjoying above-freezing temps, you should still try this soup.
Peas are my 2nd least-favorite vegetable, with okra being 1st on the list. I absolutely will not eat peas unless they’re in vegetable soup, potpies, or in split pea soup. It’s one of my few food quirks that’s been with me all my life. And as much as I dislike peas as a side dish, I love split pea soup. Not sure what it is about split peas, but to me they are nothing like..well..I don’t know what you’d call them..unsplit peas? Even my husband, who has an irrational fear of all green foods, said this soup was “not bad”, and considering the source, that means it’s incredibly delicious.
If you’re just learning to cook, a recipe like this is a great place to start. Seriously, soups are almost impossible to mess up. Just make sure you use enough liquid, taste and season as you go, and once the soup gets cooking, keep the heat on the low side..don’t try to rush it by cranking it up too high. Then just check on it and give it a good stir once in a while, making sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan and adding a little water or stock if it gets too thick. It’s really that simple. Once you’ve made a couple of pots of soup, you won’t even need to follow a recipe. In fact, until I started putting together recipes for this blog, I never measured any of my soup ingredients.
One of the best parts of soup is what you garnish it with. For this soup which has a fairly mild flavor, something a bit tangy, like the goat cheese crumbles I used, is a nice contrast. The goat cheese melts a little when it hits the hot soup and turns into creamy goodness. And croutons..you’ve gotta have croutons with split pea soup. No croutons in the cupboard? No problem! If you have bread and a little butter or olive oil, you have croutons. I’ll be sharing that recipe (not really a recipe, more like a quick how-to) very soon. If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, try a little sour cream or Greek yogurt..they’re all good.
So what are you waiting for? Maybe if enough of us make this soup it’ll chase away this cold weather!
- 1 pound split green peas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 4-8 cups water or as needed
- ½ cup uncooked barley
- ½ pound diced ham (optional)
- Sort through the peas, removing any stones, etc. Rinse and set aside.
- Add olive oil, onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a large (5-6 quart) stock pot and saute over medium heat until onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add carrots to the pot and continue to saute over medium heat until carrots start to soften, about 5 more minutes.
- Add garlic to the pot and stir for 30-60 seconds so that garlic doesn’t brown.
- Add the bay leaf, split peas, stock, and 4 cups of water to the pot. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
- When soup begins to boil, stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with lid slightly ajar so that some steam can escape. Simmer about an hour or until peas become mushy and soup begins to thicken, stirring occasionally and adding extra water or stock 1 cup at a time if needed. Stir from the bottom so that the peas don’t stick to the pot.
- Add barley and ham (optional) to the soup, and additional liquid if needed. Continue to stir occasionally and simmer over medium-low with lid ajar until barley is tender but still has a little bite to it, about 30 minutes.
- Remove and discard bay leaf. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve topped with croutons and goat cheese, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.