Split Pea Soup
I bought a bag of split peas a few months ago with the intention of making soup with them but every recipe I found used a ham bone in it. I do not have a ham bone and have no intention of buying one to make some soup with. So the peas remained on the shelf until the other day when I was browsing through Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and came across a recipe for Split Pea and Ham Soup in. In their recipe they used a ham steak which got me thinking…I have a hunk of pancetta in the freezer, that’s better even better than ham. So off to the stove I went.
1 tbs light olive oil
4 oz pancetta, chopped
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, pressed
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
3 cups water
3 slices thick cut bacon
1 pound green split peas (about 2 cups), picked through and rinsed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large soup pot oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add pancetta and cook until just crispy, remove pancetta from pot with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to drain, set aside.
To the pot with the hot pancetta oil add onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken stock, water, bacon, peas, thyme, and bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer, stirring frequently to keep peas from sticking to bottom. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until peas are tender but not falling apart, about 45 minutes.
Stir in carrots and celery; continue to simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and peas have almost completely broken down, about 30 minutes longer.
Remove pot from heat and discard thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and bacon slices.
With an immersion blender blend soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, ladle soup into a bowl and top with a few chunks of the reserved crispy pancetta.
This was a super easy soup to make and turned out just great. The bacon and pancetta combo added the perfect smoky undertone without over whelming the soup. And the carrot and celery give just a bit of vegetable sweetness, the perfect balance to the earthy split pea flavor. This is the perfect hardy soup for a snowy winter day.