Split Pea Soup
A few tablespoons good olive oil or other
2 large yellow onions, sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 1-lb bag green split peas, rinsed (or yellow
split peas or lentils)
1 ½ smoked kielbasa (or smoked ham hocks)
1 2-lb box chicken stock (low sodium, low fat)
4-6 good-sized carrots, peeled and cut into
bite sized pieces 4-6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and
cut into bite sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Whole pink peppercorns (or black or green)
2-3 bay leaves
In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions and about 1-2 teaspoons of salt and allow the onions to “sweat” for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes. Do not allow to brown.
After the onions and garlic have softened add your split peas. Stir them in and let them make friends with the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add chicken stock and about 6 cups of water (you can use more chicken stock and/or some white wine if you like). You will likely need to add more liquid during the cooking process and to adjust to desired thickness.
Add seasonings. Don’t over-salt. The meat you add later will also add salt. Raise the heat and bring the contents of your pot to a boil and then lower the heat to a vigorous simmer and cover. Let this mixture cook for about 30 minutes until the lentils start to soften.
While lentils are cooking peel and cut up your carrots and potatoes. Cut everything to about the same size so it all gets done at the same time. Put your potatoes in a bowl of cold water until you are ready to add them to keep them from turning brown and pull out some of the starch. You can use the liquid later if you need to thin the soup.
Slice up your sausage into bite sized pieces. Smoked Turkey Kielbasa is flavorful and keeps this soup low-fat, but any pre-cooked sausage will work. If you decide on ham hocks use at least two for this quantity.
After the lentils have started to soften and plump up, add your vegetables and sausage or ham hocks. Bring the soup to a boil again and then simmer for about another half hour or until the lentils are the texture you like. Taste it and adjust the seasoning and thickness.
Make yourself some corn bread and a nice salad, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy!