Is there anything so comforting as a kettle full of pea soup? With its mild blend of flavors, pea soup tops my list of all-time favorites. Months like March and April often enjoy warm weather by day and bitter cold by night (at least in this part of the world), so soups and stews are a lovely item to have on the menu. When warm weather arrives, I find that I am unable (Or is it unwilling?) to plan my meals ahead of time. I am driven to distraction by sunshine and short-sleeves. Pea soup does not require soaking or my full attention which makes it the perfect dish for days like today in which I washed windows like a madwoman and completely forgot that Josh would be home for dinner tonight.
Perhaps the greatest joy of soup is the spontaneity involved… that bit of whimsy that has us throwing bits of this and that into a bubbling fragrant kettle of goodies. Soups are an inexact science and perhaps one of the most revealing foods in that they are a direct reflection of their maker’s creativity.
Here is my pea soup recipe:
- 2 ¼ cups yellow of green split peas
- 6 cups organic chicken stock (preferably homemade but canned is fine)
- 5 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 whole clove
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 stalk of celery (the entire stalk with the leaves)
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, made into a paste
- 2 carrots (medium sized), sliced
- 1 medium red potato, unpeeled and diced
- 2 chicken breasts
- 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp sage
- 1 Tbsp (or more) dry mustard
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp paprika
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Get out a large cast iron kettle and pour 3 Tbsp of olive oil in the bottom. Coat chicken with Dijon mustard (may need more) and cook until nearly done. Sprinkle with sage and paprika. Remove from kettle and dice.
Use a colander to rinse and sort the peas, then add to the kettle.
Add the remaining oil, chicken stock, clove, onion, celery, garlic, carrots, and potato to the kettle and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 2-3 hours. Stir infrequently to keep from sticking.
Soup will thicken — peas and vegetables should be soft and easily mashed with a spoon. Puree if desired. Add chicken, dry mustard, and Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rye or flat bread. NOTE: the picture above is NOT of the finished product. If your soup looks like that after a few hours — then you didn’t have the heat up enough (or the planets weren’t aligned for proper soup making). Keep simmering and stirring occasionally. The peas should all melt down. Yum.
Makes about 8 bowls.