After long search for real split pea soup . . .
Nothing like what I grew up with.
Something at least as good as the canned stuff.
Something approaching the ambrosial peppery split pea I had once
at a restaurant, high in the Canadian Rockies, after a long cold hike
. . . I think I've finally found it.
[NOTE: To make frozen basil cubes (at their height in summer): chop fresh basil,
pack in ice cube tray, fill with water just to barely cover.]
This recipe is loosely adapted from one for Hoppin' John, a black-eyed pea stew,
in Rick Rodgers' Christmas 101.
Ham bone (I used the one leftover from our Christmas Eve dinner, with still some meaty bits left on)
2 medium onions
3 medium celery ribs, with leaves, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil (I used two cubes of frozen chopped basil)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (I used a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme from my winter garden)
plenty of freshly ground black pepper
a scant ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
1 lb. split peas, rinsed and drained
- Place ham bone, 1 onion, and 1 celery rib in crock pot and add 3 quarts cold water on HIGH.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and the remaining onion and celery ribs. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and spices (except pepper) and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in split peas.
- Add to crockpot, set at HIGH, for 3-4 hours. Cook until peas are soft and mush easily.
- Remove ham bone and when cooled enough to handle, chop any remaining meat and add back to soup.
- Blend or mash soup thoroughly.
- Salt and pepper to taste.