When I first moved to Houston in 2007, there were many things about Louisiana that I missed. My family and friends, the studio, a home cooked meal (cooked by someone other than myself). It was a similar experience when I moved to college (although this was just a 1 hour trip home…not the long 4 hour drive from Houston).
I remember the feeling of pulling up in my parents driveway my first year of college…my mom would be in the kitchen cooking something…something that I couldn’t wait to eat!
But for a whole year in Houston this feeling was few and far between. Until Jill move home, that is. Jill, one of my mom’s best friends, and her family had been in Malaysia for 7 years. But while I was still living in Houston, they returned home and began satisfying my craving for home-cooking.
Jill is a great cook. And she has the most incredible cookbook collection…really…it’s like visiting a library of nothing but cookbooks. So not only was I now getting home cooked meals, I was also able to “check-out” new cookbooks from her library. But it gets better…she would always send me home with leftovers. LOVE!
Jill was the first person to introduce me to this split pea soup. I don’t remember if she made too much (probably) or didn’t like it (there’s no way…its too good), but I ended up with a lot of soup. Into the freezer it went (in small individual servings). Perfect for when I got home late at night from teaching dance, dancing, or working at LifeTime.
I love split pea soup. It reminds me of my mom. And the fall…and since we are having the most AMAZING fallish weather, I figured it was the perfect occasion to make it myself. But just so you know, this isn’t your ordinary split pea soup…the addition of potatoes, carrots, and in my version ham, really elevates the soup to a whole new level. Make a lot (maybe double it if you aren’t cooking for one like me) and freeze it…you won’t be sorry!
Split Pea Soup
adapted from Ina Garten
makes about 9 1-cup servings
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (not as much if just using regular salt)
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 - 4 small)
1 pound dried split green peas, divided
8 cups chicken stock or water
1 ham hock, optional…but good!
In a 4-quart stockpot over 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, 1/2 of split peas, chicken stock (and/or water), and ham hock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking.
Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft*. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom.
Remove ham meat and bone from pot and set aside. When ham is cool enough to handle, shred meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding bone and fat.
Return shredded ham to the pot. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.**
* Some of the reviews on the Food Network website complained that some of the peas were still crunch…the point of adding them in 2 batches is to have some of the peas turn to mush and some to retain their shape, but NOT to be crunchy. Make sure you cook them long enough after the last addition.
** The finished soup will continue to thicken as it stands but can be thinned with some water when reheated. You will definitely need to do this when reheating any frozen soup.
Per serving (based on 9 1-cup servings per recipe) – 316 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 41 g carbohydrates, 15 g fiber, 25 g protein (exchanges: 3 protein, 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat; WW points: 6)