I have never liked peas. The frozen baby peas were tolerable, but that’s it. No big mushy peas for this girl. When I got married, I learned that my husband loved split pea soup. To me, that was the worst possible way to eat them and certainly the worst way to cook them. If you don’t like peas you don’t want to smell them cooking for a couple of hours. Needless to say he didn’t get pea soup very often. Pretty much only when a friend would give him some of their leftovers.
About 15 years into our marriage my husband bought me a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker. I had asked for it and was thrilled to get it for Christmas. As I was looking through the recipe book, I saw a recipe for split pea soup and it only cooked for 20 minutes under pressure. I decided I could handle that, and my husband was certainly deserving of a treat. To my surprise, I took the lid off the soup when it finished cooking, and it actually smelled and looked good to me. I gave it a taste and couldn’t believe I actually liked it! I’ve been making pea soup regularly ever since. I do have one son who doesn’t care for it, but he tolerates it if he has to or makes himself something else to eat.
So my kitchen tip for today is to use a pressure cooker to make pea soup or buy a pressure cooker if you don’t have one. Before giving my recipe I should say that pea soup should only be cooked under low pressure. If your pressure cooker does not have a high and low setting, then you shouldn’t attempt to make pea soup. Also, your pot should be no more than half full, so adjust the ingredients accordingly if you have a small pot. My cooker is 5 1/4 quarts.
Split Pea Soup Recipe
- 1 lb. dry split peas
- 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
Sauté the onion in a small skillet until lightly cooked. 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 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally. 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.