Recipe Flash: The Simplest Split Pea
WEEKNIGHT MENU: For a step up from regular crusty bread, bake Sausage-Tomato Focaccia for dipping. For a complete meal for others, serve alongside a large slice of Celeriac, Leek, and Sundried Tomato Frittata.
This split pea soup is based off of the version at 101 Cookbooks, but I’ve simplified it even more. There, Heidi leaves out the traditional mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery), and she opts instead to highlight only the sweetness of the onions with a bunch of fresh or frozen peas mixed in with the split peas.
I’ve omitted even the fresh peas, and in my minimalist rendition of the soup, the taste that comes through is really of the split peas’ satisfying earthiness. This pared-down flavor is given zest by the topping of tasty olive oil, smoked paprika, and thyme.
Like other legume-based soups and stews, this one gets thicker as it sits in your refrigerator. That’s why my father’s family nicknamed split pea soup “cement soup,” and probably why I refused to taste this dish until last year. So, if you’re reheating leftovers, definitely thin out the concrete with some extra water.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Simplest Split Pea Soup
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup split peas
3 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (or fresh lemon juice)
2 teaspoons very good quality olive oil
smoked paprika and thyme for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee for about 5 minutes, until they are just turning translucent. Add the salt, the peas, and the water, and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes, until the peas are soft but not mushy.
Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer half of it to a food processor or a blender and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat to desired temperature, and stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Taste for salt, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with the olive oil, paprika, thyme, and a grind or two of pepper.