The Weekend Dish – Split Pea Soup

_MG_2204There are some food traditions that are shared by many, turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving and ham on Easter to name a couple, and then there are food traditions shared by families – split pea soup on Halloween is one of those in our family. Our mother began serving the traditional meal when we were little. She had the revelation while trying to come up with something quick to make ( it was usually accompanied with hot dogs), on a night when time flies by with costume preparations. Her ultimate goal: that we would have some “real food” in us before heading out trick-or-treating and eating a bagful of candy. In the early days, I remember the soup being from a can but as we got older, and needing less help from her with our costumes, she began making the soup from scratch. The meal then takes longer to prepare but the flavor boost is well worth it. Also, it can be prepared the day ahead, thus allowing the flavors to “marry”. We began looking forward to the “Halloween dinner” as much as the trick-or-treating. Then, as a young mother myself, I appreciated the relative ease of the split pea soup and hot dog Halloween dinner and have carried on the tradition with my own family. Seems like every year, at this time, I develop a craving for split pea soup. Homemade soup is my idea of warmth and love in a bowl, just the thing to take on the ghouls and goblins.

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Split Pea Soup

  • 1 – 16oz. package of split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 3 quarts water, chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (I use hickory smoked pepper to give it a smoky flavor)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped carrots
  • 1 C chopped celery
  • 3 medium white potatoes chopped

In a large deep pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic until translucent.

Add the peas, water, or broth, and seasonings. Simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours.

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Stir in the carrots, celery and potatoes ( I use my food processor to chop the carrots and celery) and simmer an additional 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until soup reaches desired thickness.

If the soup is getting too thick for your taste you can add more liquid. Adjust seasonings to suit your tastes as well.

Serves 8

_MG_2202I had some potato chips left over from a party and they make a nice garnish for adding a little crunch, or just sprinkle with cracked pepper and serve.

~ Susan

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