Chock-full of fresh vegetables and herbs, this is not the split pea soup of mush and sludge you got in your grade-school cafeteria. If you’ve never had it made with tender loving care, now is the time to do it for yourself. Can you imagine the lunch lady diligently chopping her veggies into a 2:1:1 ratio behind the counter, mincing garlic and setting some bacon to sizzle for all 400 of you snot-nosed kids? Nope, me neither.
And there it is pictured above, that magical mirepoix, the sturdy foundations of this great soup. I adapted this recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, which calls for the use of vegan bacon. The soup is very good with vegan bacon, but even better with real bacon, and downright delicious with leftover ham, whether honey-baked or plain. It will become a comfort-food staple in your house any way you make it.
Makes 8 cups, approximately 4-6 servings; cooking time 1 hour and 45 minutes
- 1 tbsp coconut or canola oil
- 1/2 lbs of pork (i.e. 8 strips of thick bacon, or vegan bacon, sliced into 1/3-inch strips; or 1 and 1/2 cups of diced pork)
- 1 onion, diced in ¼ inch cubes
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ tsp pepper
- 10 cups veggie or chicken stock
- 3 cups split peas
- 1 carrot, ¼ inch dice
- 1 celery stalk, ¼ inch dice
- Heat oil in a 4 to 6 quart stockpot over medium. Add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the onion and cook for a minute. Add the garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook stirring occasionally for 1 minute.
- Stir in the stock and split peas. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for one hour, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, another 20 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are tender and the soup is at desired thickness.
And now for a bit of trivia! Did you know split peas are dried peas that could otherwise be seeds for the pea plant itself? After being harvested and dehydrated, they are split in half. Split peas can be either soaked or boiled, and split pea soup is among the most common usage in the United States. Yellow split peas are common in many types of Indian cuisine, as well as in Ethiopian cuisine.
This recipe will give you a decent amount of leftovers. At only around $2.15 a serving, and even less if you’re using leftover bacon or ham, it won’t break the bank either. And as you devour this flavorful and heart-warming soup, spare a thought for those who’ve only had it made lunch lady style!