There are dishes that take us back to our childhood and bring back souvenirs. This is the case with the traditional pea soup, a comforting recipe that brings back memories of trips to the sugar shack.
This split pea and root vegetable soupe recipe is a nod to that hearthy and comforting pea soup but with an extra portion of veggies.
It is also faster and easier to make than the classic recipe and a little lighter.
It’s a hybrid between a vegetable soup and a pea soup which will satisfy any craving!
The secret is to soak the split peas
In this recipe, split peas are used instead of whole dried peas to reduce cooking time.
Unlike dry peas, it is said that you do not need to be soak split peas before cooking them. But we strongly recommend that you do so.
Why soak split peas before cooking them? Simply to make them more digestible and reduce the cooking time.
A common problem with cooking pea soup is that the peas never get cooked through. And that’s most likely because they haven’t been soaked beforehand.
Ideally, they are soaked for a period of 12 hours up to 24 hours, or overnight to keep it simple.
Some tips on how to soak peas:
- Before soaking the peas, sort out any peas that are spotted, green or cracked. Rinse them once under cold water to remove debris and impurities.
- Make sure the bowl you will use is large enough, as the peas will expand during soaking.
- Use a ratio of 3 parts water for 1 part split peas.
- Place the bowl with the water and the peas in a cool place or in the refrigerator.
- Change the water once or twice during the soaking period.
When you are ready to cook the peas, discard the soaking water and rinse them before adding them to your recipe.
Which vegetables to use?
Here is a selection of root vegetables used in this recipe, whose flavors blend very well with those of split peas:
- turnip or rutabaga.
You could also add celery or even potato cubes.
The choice of meat: salted lard, ham or pancetta?
In the traditional version of pea soup, salted lard or ham on the bone is used.
For this recipe, you can add these meats, but also cubes of pancetta or unsmokedbacon.
In the case of salted lard or pancetta, I only keep the “meat” part and I degrease as much as possible to avoid having a soup that is too fatty.
What to serve this split pea and root vegetable soup with?
This soup can be eaten as a main course, for lunch, with bread or a green salad.
It can also be a starter for a sugar shack type meal, followed by a braised ham, for example.
If you have any left over, you can also freeze the soup.
You will need:
- ½ cup yellow split peas
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil for cooking
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ cup diced (and defatted) pancetta*
- ¼ tsp. dried savory
- 2 tsp. salted herbs
- 5 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 cup turnip, cut into cubes
- 2 carrots cut into 1 cm thick pieces
- 2 parsnips cut into 1 cm thick pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
Split pea soaking
- In a bowl, soak split peas in 1 ½ to 2 cups of cold water for about 12 hours (even overnight), changing the water a few times.
- After this time, discard the soaking water, rinse and drain the split peas. Set aside.
Making the soup
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil.
- Sauté the onions for a few minutes.
- Add the pancetta and continue cooking for a few minutes.
- When the onions are starting to become translucent, add the chicken broth, savory, salted herbs and split peas.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add vegetables and continue cooking for 20 minutes, or until peas and vegetables are tender.
- Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Note 1: I use pancetta but you could also use salted lard (without the fat), cubed ham or lardons. Just don't use smoked ham or lardons for this recipe.