By Jodee Weiland
Since it’s so cold out today, I decided it was the perfect day to make my Split Pea Soup…A Delicious Way to Warm Up! I’ve been making this soup for years, and today was so cold out here in the Midwest with snow and shoveling, it seemed like just the right dish to warm up our day.
This soup is hearty and delicious and on top of that, it’s healthy! It can be made with chicken broth or vegetable broth, making it easily a great vegetarian dish as well. I’ve done it both ways, and no one here ever notices a difference. The important thing is that I use a lot of fresh vegetables in my recipe that add to the nutritional value of this soup, as well as the fabulous taste.
Another thing I do when making a hearty soup like this is to make sure I have a nice crusty loaf of bread on hand. For this soup, I chose a delicious rosemary olive bread. Before eating our soup, I sliced up half of the loaf of bread. I took two slices of that bread and made fresh croutons using olive oil. My preference in using extra virgin olive oil in my soup and for the croutons is simple. Extra virgin olive oil tastes wonderful, but more importantly, it is so healthy for you! Who would complain about using something that is heart healthy and adds wonderful flavor? Not me, so here is my recipe for my Split Pea Soup…A Delicious Way to Warm Up! And don’t forget, I will give you the simple directions to make fresh croutons for your soup!
Split Pea Soup…A Delicious Way to Warm Up!
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large carrots peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks finely chopped
2 yellow onions finely chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
64 ounces all natural chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups split green peas (dried)
2 tablespoons dried parsley or 1/8 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Sauté for about five minutes or until the onions are translucent. Once these vegetables are ready, add the chicken or vegetable broth, split peas, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme. Heat and bring this to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the pot. Cook the soup at the gentle simmer for about one and a half hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed. I usually do not need to add water at all, but if you simmer it on too high a heat, you may need to add water, so check and stir occasionally to be sure. When done, remove the bay leaves and puree the soup with a hand blender or mixer. Your soup is very hot, so be careful not to splash the soup and burn yourself. I always make sure my blender is in the soup and blend it carefully so as not to splash. When you serve it, salt and pepper to taste.
Take two slices of your bread and cube it. Once done, add about two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a small pan. Heat the olive oil and then add the cubes of bread to the pan turning the cubes, so that they get coated evenly with the olive oil. Lightly sprinkle the coated cubes with garlic powder. Keep tossing the cubes over a low to medium heat until all the cubes are toasted the way you like them. This usually takes a few minutes. When done, remove the toasted croutons from the pan. Put the croutons into a serving bowl from which people can spoon them on to their soup. Make more or less, depending on how many people are eating.
Once done, serve your Split Pea Soup…A Delicious Way to Warm Up! This soup is hearty enough to serve by itself or with a side salad. We enjoy having it with a nice loaf of crusty rosemary olive bread and glass of wine. Adding a side salad is up to you. I usually leave out extra slices of the bread for those who want it as well. I know if you try this soup, you’ll love it because it is so full of flavor. I like to use enough carrots, so their flavor comes through as well, and the end result is wonderful. You can even make this soup ahead and freeze it for later, but when you smell it cooking, you won’t want to wait to eat it. Try this delicious soup, and enjoy!
I used these labels when freezing my leftover soup, and they work great!