Thursday, December 16, 2010


My college chemistry professor introduced me to pea soup - his wife served it at a dinner they hosted for several students. Initially skeptical of the thick green stuff, I quickly discovered how delicious it was and now fix it regularly for my family. The Davises fix this each year on Christmas Eve, to enjoy when they return home from their church's Christmas Eve service. This is one of those soups that I make without an official recipe, so I tried to pay very close attention last time I made it.

1 pound bag of dried split green peas, rinsed
6-8 cups water (chicken broth works well, too)
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
olive oil
smoked sausage or leftover ham for seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and saute until onion just becomes translucent. Add dried peas and water or broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer one hour. Add chopped up smoked sausage or bits of leftover ham, along with basil, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Simmer another 20 minutes, or until ready to serve.

Notes: I usually make a triple batch of this for my family and serve it for dinner with corn muffins. We enjoy leftovers for lunch later in the week, with grilled-cheese sandwiches. The longer you cook this, the thicker it gets, and the flavor just gets better with time. While it may initially look very soupy, it thickens as it cools - thick as pea soup!

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