Ham bone taste without the ham bone
All dried beans, legumes and legumes have their own distinctive taste, but peas make it eleven.
And we all know that the best pea soup is one that is braised for several hours with a ham bone. The aroma alone is irresistible; the taste, incomparable.
But long-cooked soup takes a while – at least two hours, often three. Who has so much time? In addition, few people today prepare whole (or even half) ham so that ham bones are scarce.
What to do if you crave a pea soup with the taste of long-cooked ham bone, but do not have a ham bone at hand or do not have enough time to cook for three hours?
My Split pea soup with bacon – with a secret ingredient – is just the ticket.
Recipe: Split pea soup with bacon and optional crouton garnish
The "secret" ingredient in this soup is not really secret, as practical as it is practical: it is a ham base. Ham base comes in a glass (which should be cooled after opening). Mix it with water and it makes bearings that nearly are as good as you get with a ham bone.
Ham base is available in many supermarkets (in the soup channel) or online. For more information on the use and purchase of soup tablets, seeexcuses ,
I make this soup in a 4- or 6-quart wide-base pot (the wide bottom makes it easier to sauté onions and other vegetables in a saucepan). This recipe gives 6 – 10 servings.
- Cut ½ pound sliced bacon into ½ inch pieces
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, finely diced (1¼ – 1 ¾ cups, accurate measurement not critical)
- 2 – 3 carrots washed, peeled and finely diced
- Wash 1 – 2 ribs of celery, peeled and finely diced
- 2 – 4 cloves of garlic diced or sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (possibly optional, see note)
- 1½ teaspoons of dried thyme (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon paprika flakes (or to taste)
- 1 pound of dried split peas, picked and rinsed
- 8 – 10 cups of water (see Notes)
- ~ 2 tablespoons of ham base (to taste, see notes for substitutions)
Ingredients for optional croutons
- 3 – 4 slices of bread cut into cubes
- 2 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or melted butter or a mixture)
- 2 – 3 finely chopped garlic cloves (optional)
- ½ teaspoon dried herb of choice (optional, I like thyme)
- If you would like to prepare optional croutons, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare bacon, onion, garlic, carrots and celery.
- Put bacon in the cold pan. Fry over medium heat until the desired degree of crispness is achieved.
- In the meantime, place 4 quart saucepan over medium heat. When it is hot, add oil and then add onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Gar until soft but not brown (about 5 minutes).
- In the meantime, pique the peas and rinse (see note).
- When the onion is tender, add thyme and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Then add split peas and water and bring to a boil. Add ham base.
- When the bacon is done, take it out of the pan with a spoon and add it to the split peas (maybe add one or two tablespoons of bacon). Continue simmering until the soup is ready (40 – 60 minutes, depending on how old and dry the peas are).
- While the soup is cooking, prepare the croutons according to the instructions of the Almost Homemade Croutons Recipe too , The total preparation time for croutons is about 5 minutes, the cooking time is 15 – 25 minutes, so you have enough time to prepare them while the soup is simmering.
- When the soup has finished cooking, you can chop the split peas as desired (use a hand blender to liquefy to the desired consistency or use a spoon to press against the side of the pot). I often leave most of them completely.
- Ready to serve! Garnish with homemade croutons when you use them.
- If you want, you can fry the bacon in the same pot where you cook the soup. When the bacon is cooked you can remove it and then sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in the bacon fat. In this case, you do not need the olive oil.
- Pepper Bacon (if you can find it) adds a nice zing.
- If you have a packaged ham at hand, dice a cup or so and replace it for the bacon. Many sausages also combine well with peas.
- I like garlic and enjoy the pleasure of biting into a big piece of it, so I always cut my garlic. Dice it if you prefer a more subtle garlic experience.
- Peas, such as lentils, do not need to be soaked, but they must be sorted (to remove pebbles or dirt that might have gotten into the package). The simplest way to sort things is to pour the peas into a stack at one end of a tin pan (the 1-inch-side type). I push each pea from the stake to the other end of the pan and remove any foreign objects that I find along the way. Then I pour them into a colander, rinse them quickly with the sprayer of my sink and they are ready for the pot.
- Ham base is what gives this soup its "ham bone" flavor, and I recommend it. For more information about Supp (Stock) bases, see Stock Excuses , You could also canned chicken broth or just water (the soup will be fine, but one dimension is missing).
- The 8 to 10 cups of water listed in the list of ingredients require some judgment. If you like your soup thick, use less water. If you prefer a smoother consistency, use more. If the soup gets too much while cooking, just add more water. Taste on the way to see if you need to add more ham base.
- Even without the ham bone, pea soup takes a good hour, considering both preparation and cooking time (although much of the cooking can be unattended). This means that for many people it may not be a practicable dinner for a week. A good solution is to make this soup ahead of time. You can prepare it in the evening before serving and chill overnight. And of course, it's also an option to cook at the weekend and use later in the week (it freezes pretty well).
- Potatoes are a great addition to this soup. Simply wash, peel and dice some yukon gold, red skin or other "boiling" potatoes and add them to the soup as you add the peas and liquid.
OK, not the nicest soup
There are many who know that they do not like peas. In fact, this is a food that many people say they "hate". I'm not sure why that is because I do not think it's the taste that scares her off.
Sometimes I hear people who complain about the consistency of cooked split peas and say they are too "mushy". This problem usually arises because too much cooking liquid evaporates while the soup is simmering and too dense soup is left over. Solution? Just add more liquid.
And then there's the look of the soup. I must admit that pea split is not necessarily the best soup. Maybe that really offends some people. Solution? I do not know – maybe just breathe in the blissful aroma of the soup? If that's not enough to whet my appetite, I do not know what's up.
Bring the A / C
Split peas can be cooked in a variety of ways (yellow split peas figure prominent in some Indian dals). But soup is for me the ideal expression of pea essence. I enjoy the taste so much that I like to make this soup all year round.
Many people associate the savory taste and robust nature of pea soup with cold weather – and it's an ideal winter food. But the soup always works well when the temperature is a bit chilly. It can be perfect at this time of the year. Although the days here in St. Louis are warm, we have many cold evenings before spring is in full bloom.
Nevertheless, the summer is not far away. What to do then?
Well, I remember Richard Nixon, who loved roaring fire. He was reportedly enjoying it so much that in mid-August he insisted on lighting a big flame in his fireplace. To counteract the heat, he would crank the air conditioner (well, turn it down, but you know what I mean). He was angry in the press for it.
If I get a craving for split-pea soup this summer that I can not resist, I might push the A / C thermostat down a bit.
And I do not want to hear about it. I look at you, Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.