Foraging in the back of my freezer, I found a long-lost ham bone. Not wanting to waste any food in the midst of this who-knows-how-long-it-will-last pandemic, I decided to use it to create a classic split pea soup.
A hearty winter dish, split pea soup is also a comfort food from my childhood, one of many I’ve been busy cooking during this surreal pandemic. As my entire family is home 24/7, with little to distract us, mealtimes are becoming a form of entertainment.
If you don’t have split peas in your pantry, you should pick some up the next time you’re shopping. They last almost forever, require no refrigeration, and are a great food to keep on hand for emergencies. If you’re using really old split peas, please soak them in filtered water for a few hours before cooking, otherwise they’ll be tough. (I know this from experience.)
I’m trying to shop once every two weeks to reduce my potential for COVID-19 exposure. Most fresh produce won’t last that long, but carrots keep well in the produce drawer of my fridge. I buy as many as I can, and use them last. Celery also keeps well in the fridge for a long time. It adds dimension and a little flavor to soups, so I try to keep it on hand.
I’ve started rationing onions, using fewer than usual so my supply lasts longer. This soup requires a single onion. If you’ve got more, use more, but that’s the minimum. Scallions or shallots will work too.
To compensate for the onion shortage, I’ve added both fresh garlic and garlic powder to this soup. My organic supermarket sells organic garlic powder (not granules) in the bulk section (now closed) which is much stronger than ordinary supermarket garlic powder. Use whatever you have on hand. I always keep a few bottles of chopped garlic packed in olive oil in my pantry, so that will work too.
Classic Split Pea Soup with Carrots
Split pea soup is a hearty comfort food. Cook it with a ham bone for extra flavor.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cup split peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 ham bone (optional)
- 8 cups broth or filtered water
- 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Crumbled cooked bacon, chopped walnuts or fresh herbs for garnish
In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the oils until they shimmer.
Add onions and carrots, dust with a pinch of salt, and sauté for 3 minutes.
Add celery, dust with a pinch of salt, and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add chopped garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Stir in split peas, ham bone, the remainder of the salt.
Add broth or water, wine, thyme, marjoram and garlic powder, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes.
Remove from heat, and discard the ham bone.
Serve garnished with crumbled cooked bacon, chopped walnuts or fresh herbs.
Chop the vegetables into small pieces.
Heat olive and coconut oils in a large pot until they shimmer.
Sauté the onions and carrots first.
Then add the celery. Add the chopped garlic last.
Sauté until all the vegetables are soft.
Stir in the split peas.
Add the ham bone.
Pour in the broth and white wine.
Add thyme and marjoram.
Stir in garlic powder for extra flavor.
Cook, covered, for at least 50 minutes, until the split peas are soft. You may purée the soup, after removing the ham bone, if you wish.
Garnish, and serve!