My Honey Girl’s best friend Laura shares my love of split pea soup. During their middle and high school years, on the occasion that I made a pot, she would bring over a little container and bring home a portion for herself. She and my Honey Girl always seemed to be laughing or squealing about something, baking silly shaped cookies and kooky recipes, and painting murals of the past year in school. They have been best friends since they were 12, and Laura’s family live around the corner, so she was a fixture at our house, and one we were happy to embrace. I miss having her around the house now that she is in college.
Split pea soup is so easy to make. This is my ultra-simple version. It takes about an hour and a half to make, but even on a busy night, you can chop up an onion and some carrots and celery, toss the rest of the short list of ingredients into a pot, and relax for a bit while it simmers into an inexpensive, fortifying, and warming bowl. It’s nice to have a pot of soup in the winter—especially nice when it’s ten below zero out there and you’d rather cozy up inside; for the next couple of days it’s an instant answer to the proverbial question of what to eat. Laura, there’s a container in the refrigerator with your name on it, just in case you stop by, chunky style the way we like it.
North Woods Split Pea Soup
Yield: about eight servings
2 c. split peas
8 c. water
1 large onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
a few sprigs of thyme and parsley and a bay leaf tied into a bundle with cheesecloth and string
1 ham hock
salt and pepper to taste
- Place all of the ingredients except the salt into a large soup pot over high heat.
- Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer gently for about 1 ½ hours, or until the split peas are tender and the broth is silky.
- Remove the ham hock with a tongs and slice it into shards with a fork and knife, discarding any fat and skin.
- If you prefer a silky smooth soup, puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a conventional blender at this point.
- Return the ham to the pot.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
I’m serving this with biscuits tonight.