Monday, January 24, 2011

Split Pea Soup

This is the perfect time of year for cooking split pea soup. I don’t know about you, but in the summer when temperatures are hot and fresh vegetables are abundant, I have no interest in pea soup, but six months later in the cold of winter, it’s just perfect.

Pea soup has not always been a favorite of mine. In fact, I wouldn’t eat it for years, but I have learned to really enjoy it. This recipe contains the ingredients that I personally enjoy in the soup, particularly potatoes. However, you might like adding carrots or other vegetables.

I love using a pressure cooker to make pea soup. I love using a pressure cooker for many things, but it is a real time saver with this. Therefore, I will give directions for cooking with a pressure cooker or without. If you use a pressure cooker, be sure it can be cooked on a low (8 psi) setting. Peas should not be cooked under high pressure. Also, be sure your pressure cooker pot is no more than half full.

Split Pea Soup
1 lb. dry split peas, washed
1 large onion, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 c. chicken broth*
1 bay leaf
1/2 lb. ham, chopped (or bacon, vary amount to your taste)*
pepper to taste

Pressure Cooker: Combine all ingredients except the pepper in the pressure cooker. Heat and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Close the lid and bring to low pressure using high heat. Cook for 22 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally. Remove bay leaf, stir, and add pepper to taste.

Stove Top: Combine all ingredients except the potatoes and pepper in a large heavy pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add the potatoes and continue to cook until they are tender. Remove bay leaf, stir, and add pepper to taste.

Leftover soup will be very thick the next day. You can thin it with more broth, water, or milk if desired.

*Split pea soup can very easily be made gluten free. Check your chicken broth ingredients (I make my own or use Pacific brand) and make sure the ham is gluten free.

Linda Etherton began her gluten-free journey in 2000 when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. She shares recipes and information about living gluten free on her blog, The Gluten-Free Homemaker. Linda believes that gluten free can and should be delicious and never apologizes for serving gluten-free food.

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