It’s getting to be the end of winter. It’s not exactly warm yet, but here in southern Japan, the days are growing longer and the sun spends more time out than it does behind grey clouds. One thing I love about winter is the ability to make a big pot full of something warm and have it hit the spot. Whether it is chili, beef stew, or a soup, there just isn’t anything that compares to curling up on the couch with a big bowl full of warmth.
As a bit of a closer to the season, and maybe a welcome to the season of good fresh veggies, we decided to try our hand at making some split pea soup. I am a bit split myself on the pea soup front, as it doesn’t take much to go from amazing, rich and earthy soup, to Spackle. I love when it is good, I hate when it is bad. Luckily, I think I managed to cobble together a good one.
The soup idea came with good timing, since earlier in the day we got the last good slices out of one of the slabs of bacon I made. And there is nothing that bacon ends are better for than split pea soup. We also had some leftover steamed carrots and sauteed yellow squash from dinners earlier in the week, so I took advantage of those to get some extra color and flavor in the soup.
Porky Split Pea Soup
- 4 oz. slab bacon, cubed
- 1 lb. dried split peas (1 bag)
- 6 c. Chicken Broth (1 box plus 1 can if you are going from store bought)
- 2 c. steamed or sauteed veggies
- Garlic Powder
- White Pepper
Cube bacon and add to soup pot on medium heat. Sprinkle liberally with salt and garlic powder, and cook until the bacon is starting to crisp up, but not to the point where it is crispy.
Rinse peas under cold water and drain thoroughly. Add to pot and stir to coat with fat and seasoning.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and stir occasionally. Keep the lid on the pot, but slightly off center to allow some of the steam to vent.
Chop up, or mash veggies (I used a rather stout pastry blender in a mixing bowl). Add the veggies and white pepper after about 20 minutes of simmering time. And continue simmering until the peas are soft, about 45 minutes total.
Once peas are soft, mash the peas with the back of the spoon to get that thick split pea texture. Some other recipes call for using an immersion blender or an actual blender, but i wanted to keep the more rustic texture and big chunks of bacon. It’s up to you.
Serve in a big bowl with some bread (we had made some Salt & Olive Oil quick bread, out of Bittman’s seminal How to Cook Everything, for breakfast and it went beautifully). Serves 4 for a meal, or 6-8 as a side.
This also makes great leftovers. It can get a bit dense in the fridge, so add a little water or more broth, if you have it, while reheating.