Winter is the time for a bowl of good soup, and everyone who knows me knows that I am always looking for a new favorite to add to our repertoire.  My friend Sarah mentioned recently that she was making her mom’s split pea soup recipe, and I was cautiously intrigued.  I’m not a fan of peas, and was pretty sure that split pea involved ham, which I don’t eat.  Yet, I feel like I’m grown up enough now to try something like it, so I asked for the recipe.  Turns out the ham is optional and the recipe had some sweet ingredients, rather than just savory.  Gluten free and easily dairy free… I was left with no reason not to poke around in the grocery store for a bag of split peas (they’re by the dried beans, in case you are wondering).  With her permission, join me for some split pea soup.

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

2 lb. dried peas
1 large apple (peeled, cored, and chopped)
3 qt. chicken broth
2 large onions (coarsely chopped)
2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
1 large sweet potato (peeled and chopped)
2 bay leaves
½ lb. ham, cooked (optional- I omitted)
salt and pepper, to taste (I only use pepper, since broth is salty)
cream, to taste (I used 2 T of almond milk)

Directions

For a richer onion flavor, the onions can be sautéed first.  I did sauté mine, since it didn’t require the use of an additional pan. Ham can be cooked in the soup, added after cooking, or omitted completely.  I chose not to use any.

If sautéing onions, drizzle oil in bottom of pot and sauté until tender, about five minutes.  Add remaining ingredients to pot, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least two hours. Stir occasionally.

Remove bay leaves and add ham (if desired).  Puree with an immersion blender. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream, if desired.  Continue to simmer, uncovered, until desired thickness is reached.  I cooked the soup for another hour.

This soup begs for something warm and crunchy to dip into it.  Keeping the carbs low, I made biscuits made with almond and coconut flour, very similar to this recipe.  Both of my daughters, my husband, and I loved the soup.  It was a filling meal, and good enough to eat for lunch as leftovers two days in a row.  In fact, I offered my husband some crumbled turkey bacon to add to his soup and he declined it, which is a rarity for him.  I’m happy to report that split peas taste differently than regular peas, and this easy recipe will warm your bones on a chilly winter’s eve. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your family’s recipe.

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