Split pea soup qualifies as comfort food in my book. My mom used to make this for us when we were kids. I’ve always loved it. She would put some of it in the blender for a smoother version, but I prefer it chunky. Do what you like.
This recipe is versatile. Yellow split peas or lentils can be substituted for the green split peas. You can leave out the carrots and potatoes if you choose. If you want a vegetarian version, substitute vegetable stock, add more veggies, and leave out the meat. Ham shanks or hocks can also be substituted for the sausage.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
3 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
1 1-lb bag green split peas, rinsed
1 smoked kielbasa, sliced into bite sized pieces
1 2-lb box chicken stock (low sodium, low fat)
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, salt, and pepper. Allow the onions and celery to “sweat” for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes. Do not allow to brown.
After the onions and garlic have softened, add your split peas. Stir them in, and let them make friends with the onion mixture for a few minutes. Add chicken stock and 6 cups of water (you can use more chicken stock and less water or some white wine instead, if you like). You may need to add more liquid during cooking, depending on desired thickness. Add bay leaves.
Raise the heat and bring the contents to a vigorous simmer. Lower heat and cover. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes until the peas start to soften and plump up.
While lentils are cooking, peel and cut up your carrots and potatoes. Cut everything to about the same size so it all gets done at the same time. Put your potatoes in a bowl of cold water until you are ready to add them, to keep them from turning brown and pull out some of the starch. You can use the liquid later if you need to thin the soup.
Slice your sausage into bite sized pieces. Smoked turkey kielbasa is flavorful and keeps this soup low-fat, but any pre-cooked sausage will work. If you decide on ham hocks, use at least two for this quantity.
Add your vegetables and sausage to the pot. Cover and simmer for about another 30 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning and thickness.
Serve with corn bread and a green salad. Enjoy!
Makes about 8 1 ½ cup servings. Each serving contains approximately 411 calories, 9 g fat, 26 mg cholesterol, 1,361 mg sodium, 60 g carbohydrate, 26 g protein. This soup is also high in vitamin A (106% PDV*) and iron (20% PDV).
January 29, 2016