Monday, September 20, 2010

Split Pea Soup Recipe

Well, this is not an innovative or new recipe by any means, but split pea soup can be a frugal and deliciously healthy dish. Dried split peas are very economical and have a long shelf life. (I like to buy mine in the bulk section at Winco.) I got my potatoes for 99 cents for a 10 pound bag, my baby carrots @ 79 cents a pound, and the celery was pretty cheap, too. Add half a brown onion, chopped, and some leftover ham from a meal a few nights before and we had a big pot of pea soup for a very low price per serving. (I didn't actually work out exactly what that price was, i'm too lazy, but, trust me, it was a cheap way to feed a big family + some guests.)

you'll need:
*2-3 cups dried split peas, rinsed and rained
*8 to 10 cups water, plus more for replacing evaporated water while pea soup boils
*1/2 medium onion, chopped
*20 baby carrots, cut into 4ths
*4 celery ribs, halved and then sliced
*5 to 8 potatoes, peeled and chunked (amount varies depending on how much you like potatoes. We like more rather than less in our soup.)
*ham steak (optional, I make this vegetarian style quite often by omitting the ham), diced, or you can just throw in a ham bone for flavor without having chunks of meat in your soup
*salt & pepper to taste

1.Throw your split peas, water, and diced onion into a large stockpot. bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. DO NOT ADD SALT until later, because if you are using ham in this recipe the ham will add a bit of salty flavor on its own-if you salt now you may end up with very salty pea soup.

2. Boil about 20 more minutes. If you keep it at a medium high boil, your peas will start to disintegrate. After your second 20 minutes is over, add your diced ham. I like to cut mine fairly chunky so that my pea soup will be hearty with good sized dices of meat. You may want to add more water at this point to replace the water that has boiled down. Depending on how thick you want your pea soup to be, you can add as much water as you'd like.

3. Boil for another 20 minutes. Make sure you stir often because this will begin to thicken and the bottom could burn. I like to use a good, heavy bottomed pan so that it doesn't burn so easily on the bottom. Keep on checking the water level and adding water to suit your taste.

4. Add your carrots, celery, and potatoes. Taste the broth to see how salty it is. You may add a teaspoon of salt to give some flavor to the potatoes so they don't end up tasting flat. You can also grind some fresh pepper into the mix if you'd like. Boil for 40 more minutes, stirring often. You should end up with a thick, hearty soup, with nice chunks of potatoes and ham and some dices of celery and carrot for flavor and color.

This soup is high in fiber and iron, making it a hearty and healthy choice for your family-you can also sub the ham for turkey ham, it is still very flavorful and has less fat and calories. I usually use regular ham but I trim it very well before I dice it for our soup. We like to serve ours with whole grain bread and Smart Balance margarine-this tastes delicious dipped into the soup. This is great on a cold fall or winter day and the leftovers are awesome for lunch for hubby the next day, too!

Note: If you soak and rinse your peas for several hours before making this, it shouldn't give you gas.


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