Slit Pea Soup From Scratch

Split pea soup is my comfort food. It's so easy to make, especially since the only ingredients that don't come from my CSA box are dried split peas and optional spices which are easy to keep stocked in the pantry. The original recipe comes from Nourishing Traditions, but the following version is simplified even further.

Soak 4 cups split peas in water for about 7 hours. Add lemon juice or whey to the soaking water for added health benefits. Yellow split peas are more flexible than green because they blend more easily with a variety of vegetables—green split peas can turn the soup brown if paired with too many bright orange and yellow vegetables, for example. 

An hour or two before dinnertime start cooking 1-3 onions and at least three cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped, over low to medium-low heat with 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot. Don't worry about chopping them up small since everything will be blended later. If you're patient let them caramelize, otherwise you can add the other vegetables as soon as the onions are transparent.

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Prepare the other vegetables while the onion and garlic cook. One of the best things about this soup is that you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand! This time I used carrots, bell pepper, radishes, and chard stems. Last time I used mostly carrots and zucchini.

Cook the vegetables until they're fork-tender. Drain and lightly rinse the split peas, then add them to the pot along with 4 quarts of broth or a mixture of broth and water.

Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Add any herbs or spices except salt after skimming the foam. Salt can prevent the peas from softening up so add it right before serving the soup. 

The original recipe calls for fresh thyme and green peppercorns. My mom's favorite way to season this soup was cumin and tumeric. This soup is a forgiving base for experimentation, so go wild!

Simmer covered for at least 30 minutes or until the peas are soft. Blend with an immersion blender or use a normal blender to puree the soup in batches. The latter will create a super smooth cream soup while the former makes the texture a little more dynamic. The picture below shows the super-smooth cream soup version, which is my favorite. 

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What sort of warm comfort food do you turn to as the temperature outside drops?

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