Curried Split Pea Soup
Pea Soup with a Kick
I love adding herbs and spices to just about everything. Using curry powder in pea soup adds an interesting flavor that takes it to a new level. If you love curry, don't be afraid to add more than the suggested 2 tablespoons. Of course, you can also make a mouth-watering traditional version by simply omitting the curry and cumin.
Once you've prepped all of your ingredients, this soup is a breeze to cook. Everything goes into one pot, and you get to relax for a while. It has an enchanting aroma and a hearty taste to fill your belly and warm you on chilly evenings.
With or without the curry, this recipe is also ideal for those who are new to cooking, and anyone who isn't very comfortable in the kitchen. Unless you don't let it cook long enough, it's virtually impossible to botch. If you can chop up vegetables and measure out ingredients, you can make split pea soup. Below the recipe, I've included some useful tips that should answer any questions you might have.
- 1 pound dried split peas
- 1 - 2 pounds ham
- 6 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 medium potatoes, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup half & half
- 1 tablespoon celery salt
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin, (optional)
- In a large stock pot, bring all ingredients, except 1/2 & 1/2, to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for three hours, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the peas are fully cooked.
- Check and stir occasionally.
- Stir in the 1/2 & 1/2. Serve immediately.
- Simply leaving out the ham will turn this into a savory vegetarian dish, although you may want to add more spices, such as thyme and marjoram.
- Add about 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper to give your soup a little bit of a kick.
- As far as the ham goes, I usually do it the easy way; I buy a ham steak (or ham that is already cut into cubes - it doesn't get any easier than that), cut it into chunks and toss it into the pot. However, I have occasionally used part of a ham with the bone intact. Prior to adding the 1/2 & 1/2, remove the ham from the pot, then cut it off the bone, and slice it into one-inch cubes. Stir the chunks of ham into the soup, and give the bone to your dog. If you don't mind taking this extra step, the bone-in ham really makes a difference in taste.
- Instead of a stock pot, you can cook this in a crock pot (slow cooker). Use the low setting, and cook for about five or six hours, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the peas are fully cooked. You can toss everything into the slow cooker, then leave for work; when you arrive home, all you have to do is stir in the half & half, and dinner is ready to serve. If you are using pre-cooked ham, and cooking the soup for several hours in a crock pot, I suggest adding the ham during the last hour of cooking time, otherwise it has a tendency to overcook, and it can take on an unappealing grayish color.
- Our local supermarket sells no-soak dried peas. I love not having to soak them overnight, but they do still need to be washed and sorted. To do this, simply pour them into a fine mesh strainer, rinse them thoroughly, remove any discolored peas, and they are ready to use. It doesn't require much time or effort. However, if your dried peas are not the no-soak kind, you will need to soak them for several hours, preferably overnight.
- A salad and crusty whole grain bread are nice complements to turn your soup into a meal. As a meal, a batch of soup will serve eight to ten people; as a side dish or appetizer, it will yield more servings.
- You can adjust the consistency of the soup according to your preferences. As it's cooking, simply add more water or broth to thin it out, or use less, if you like your pea soup really thick.
Which do you prefer?
© 2017 Sara Krentz