Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Easy Peasy

For dinner, I’m finding it a constant challenge to come up with something at least marginally nutritious for the family to eat and easy enough for me to make. Bonus points if I get leftovers too. Now and again, I hit on something really good that makes us all happy. This is my version of Parker’s Split Pea Soup found in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

We love Ina Garten; her flavor palette meshes well with that of our family. I find her recipes work as promised, though she uses more salt that I would. And the servings yield in the cookbooks can be a bit too much for my small family, so I tend to half everything. Here, I took an already simple soup recipe and made it easier on myself. I add in some meat for extra protein and, unlike Ina, dump all the split peas into the pot at once. This can easily go vegetarian, and the soup can take a couple more carrots or potatoes if you have them.

The soup does get very thick as it stands, so I find it necessary to add in some water when reheating to get it to a better consistency. Since I tend to throw this together whenever I have time to let something sit on the stove a bit, we usually have this reheated for dinner and then again as leftovers.

Split Pea Soup


  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
  • 1 cup medium-diced red potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
    • Note: I’ve also used unpeeled Yukon Golds.
  • 1 pound dried split green peas
  • 8 cups chicken stock or water
    • Note: I’ve used all stock or a combination of both, depending on what was on hand.
  • Chopped, cooked ham or sausage (optional)
    • Note: I buy vacuum-packed ham steaks and chop them up. These are already cooked and can be added in during the last 30 minutes of cooking.


In a 4-quart stockpot [I use my 5-quart Dutch oven] on medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the carrots, potatoes, split peas, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 90 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Skim off the foam while cooking, if you can. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Or, lower the heat and lengthen the cooking time to off-set your not stirring quite so often.

Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot. Pairs really well with crusty bread.

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