I don't know about you, but up until maybe two years ago I always viewed Split Pea Soup as a disgusting and unappetizing soup that no one liked. It certainly looks unappealing with its puke green color with random chunks of ham so I just never tried it. It wasn't until I became Sous Chef at a corporate cafe and had it put on the menu that I even tried it, mostly because I had to make it. Let me tell you, making something that you are going to sell even though you've never actually tried it or in fact cooked it before is quite a daunting task, one of which happened to me multiple times. Luckily for me, I remembered my basics from Culinary School and also read the split pea package which had some basic instructions and from there I winged it. This is when I discovered my love for Split Pea Soup. However I have also discovered that I only like fresh and from scratch Split Pea Soup, I can't stomach the stuff from cans.
This soup recipe is super easy to prepare and could easily be made in a crock pot. I don't generally use my crock pot seeing as mine is literally older than I am. Seriously I'm pretty sure its from the 70s. And I use my giant stock pot (2 gallons is giant right?) and usually after I'm halfway done I realize that I probably could have used my crock pot. After working in commercial kitchens for a few years its hard for me to add to my repertoire things like microwaves and crock pots. Friends of mine who generally say they can't cook use crock pots better than I do! Anyway, as I said this recipe could easily be put into a crock pot and let it sit for a few hours, though it does take a good 2 hours of cooking time on the stove as well. I did try to calculate calories for this soup as well, though I'm not exactly sure how accurate my nutritional information is because there is reducing involved so the serving size of 12 ounces. I would say the calories aren't far off at least, I think within 50 calories or so. This is quite a healthy dish. For 12 ounces of Split Pea Soup my calorie calculator website says it would be about 185 calories which is pretty awesome because it is super filling. I feel like this soup fills me up more than any other soup I make.
Split Pea Soup
1 lb dry Split Peas
1/2 lb ham, diced
1 lb carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
10 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
Salt & Pepper
With a small amount of oil saute the carrots, onion, and ham in a stock pot. You don't really need to get any color on them you almost want to sweat them more than saute them. Add the Split Peas, water, and Bouillon cubes. Stir and bring to a boil on high heat.
Once boiling add your salt, pepper, and garlic & onion powders, though you'll probably add more at the end as well to taste. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for about 2 hours, just check to see if everything is nice and mushy, if its not I just turn up the heat for a quick boil for a few minutes while frequently stirring just to finish cooking off the carrots (when I made this my carrots weren't done all the way until after this but I didn't cut them very small!). Turn off the heat, and remove if you're on an electric stovetop. Next take your immersion blender, if you don't have one you probably will have to use a normal blender just be careful to hold the top with a kitchen towel so it doesn't blow off with the heat, but an immersion blender is best! Once its nice and blended give it a taste, but don't be like me and burn your tongue because its wicked hot. This is when you add more of your seasonings to get it to where you like. I had to end up adding a whole lot of salt to mine. This makes at least 5 large servings or 10 small servings. I would suggest freezing half if you are cooking for just yourself because I'll usually eat it about 3 days in a row then want something else.
An alternate less healthy version of this and super delicious is instead of ham you use 4-5 slices of good bacon. If you use bacon make sure to render all the fat out before adding the veggies and you won't have to add any oil at all since there will be more than enough bacon grease. When I made it with bacon instead of ham I had all my animals fighting each other for the rights to lick my bowl every time I heated it up. One of our cats actually tried to stick her head in the pot to eat some, luckily I stopped her before she stole any of my soup!
Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!