Legumes and I have deep roots, but this soup was my first experience cooking with split peas. They cook much like lentils, as they do not need any overnight soaking and require less cook time than most other legumes, especially if cooked in an Instant Pot. So, I decided to give split pea soup a test run, as Spring is budding everywhere, and green ingredients are so vividly delicious and alluring right now, but it is still cool and crisp enough to enjoy a hearty, velvety bowl of soup.
Actually, I made this soup about a month or so ago. My laptop’s battery reached the end of days and the ac power cord could only hold a charge for an hour or so. There is nothing more infuriating and upsetting as losing 3 to 5 hours of writing because of faulty equipment. So, after this happened TWICE, I put my writing on hold. BUT, I just received a new Lenovo IdeaPad (Happy Birthday to me!) and have a few recipes to happily catch up on (and plenty of quarantine time to do so). Plus, it’s still Spring and still a wee bit chilly out so a bowl of split pea soup still sounds delicious to me!
2 cups split peas
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup cubed smoked ham, optional
1 cup fresh or frozen sweet peas, thawed if necessary and reserved
1 carrot, diced
1 leek, trimmed, thoroughly washed, and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme
juice from 1/2 fresh lemon, or to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Set an Instant Pot to the “saute” setting, and once hot, add the olive oil, leeks, and carrots and saute 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the thyme and garlic and saute an additional minute or so. Stir in the cubed ham, if using, and split peas. Saute two more minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the stock and bring up to a simmer.
Per the Instant Pot directions, place the lid on and set the valve to the “sealing” position. Change the Instant Pot setting from “saute” to “manual/pressure cook” and set the cook time to 18 minutes and adjust it to the “high” setting. Once the cook time is reached, allow the Instant Pot to sit an additional 10 minutes or so to naturally release pressure a bit and then carefully turn the valve to “release”. Steam will shoot out so mind your hands and face. Once the steam has completely released, remove the lid.
Stir in the lemon juice, add in salt and black pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Puree all or some of the soup, as needed, to reach desired consistency. Ladle into large soup bowls, top with the sweet peas, and serve immediately.
Pictured Garnishes: poached egg, beet sprouts, sunflower seeds, and Aleppo pepper chili oil
Vegetarian/Vegan Substitutions: use smoked salt or a teaspoon of liquid smoke in place of the ham and vegetable stock instead of chicken