Thursday, March 1, 2012

Split Pea Soup

It is hard to make split pea soup look appetizing in a picture, but trust me, this soup is fantastic. Even my toddler devoured it. And it was super cheap, easy to make, and very healthy. Split peas are a great source of B-vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. I also bumped up the nutrition with extra carrots, celery, and potatoes. I kept ours vegetarian, but it would also be delicious with ham. I have included directions for both below. 

Split Pea Soup
Servings: 6 to 8

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 large yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
1 lb. dried split green peas, rinsed 
10 cups chicken broth or veggie broth (use water if using ham shanks)
Salt and pepper
2 ham shanks (optional)

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and oregano; cook for an additional minute. Add the bay leaf, potatoes, split peas, and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 90 minutes, or until the peas are tender. Stir frequently to keep the solids from sticking to the bottom, and skim off excess foam while cooking. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare split pea soup with ham:
Add 2 ham shanks to the pot with the other ingredients. Use water in place of the chicken broth. Simmer the ham shanks along with the split peas until the peas are tender. Remove the ham shanks and shred the meat, discarding the excess fat. Return the shredded meat to the pot.

Source: adapted from Ina Garten via Food Network

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