Friday, November 8, 2013

"Split Pea Soup" A Warm And Hearty Comfort Food

It’s the beginning of November, and the temperatures are getting colder. It’s that time of year again when the fall season is in full swing. The leaves are falling, and it is a time to be with family in a warm and comfortable home.  

As I look back to when I was much younger, I am reminded that my mom would always have comfort food for dinner, especially when it was cold, rainy, windy, or snowy outside. To me comfort food is like a big hug, which just wraps its arms around you, and makes you feel safe at home. I recently found a photo of my brother Chris and myself when we were very young. 
1964-My brother Chris and myself

These would be the days that comfort foods were definitely needed.  Some of my mom’s favorite foods that she would prepare for us would be lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas, plus many other hearty vegetables. These meals were sometimes mixed with pasta, like the lentils and chickpeas, and the dry peas were made into a very thick and hearty nutritious soup. It was a lot of work to cook homemade food, rather than using a can or jar. My mom knew that it was worth the extra time to eat and enjoy a healthy meal that was made with love. Speaking of soups, I just found out that the second week in November is “National Split Pea Soup Week.” So, stay a while and let’s explore some information that you may not know about split peas. 

It is a food holiday that is only celebrated in the United States since 1969. But split pea soup recipes in some form or another are enjoyed all over the world. North Dakota and Montana farmers grow 84% of all the dried peas, making them our top producers in the United States. Pea soup is made from dried peas. Many cultures have variations of this soup. The color of many varieties of peas comes in a grayish-green or yellow color depending on the region they are cultivated in. Pea soup has been eaten since antiquity. According to a source, the Greeks and Romans were cultivating this legume about 500 to 400 BC. During that era, vendors in the streets of Athens were selling hot pea soup.

Pea Soup” usually means a perfectly smooth puree. “Split Pea Soup” is a slightly thinner soup with visible peas, pieces of ham and vegetables. This is done by using dried, green split peas. As consumers become more aware of the tremendous health benefits of peas, we are encouraged to eat this popular staple food and share it with our friends and family. So pull out those cookbooks and try a new bean recipe, or cook a nice pot to share with your whole family. 

6 Reasons To Use Dry Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas.” 

 1. Peas, lentils, and chickpeas are excellent sources of fiber.
 2. Peas, lentils, and chickpeas are a good source of protein.
 3. Peas and lentils are fat-free, and chickpeas are low in fat.
 4. Peas and lentils are sodium free & chickpeas are low in sodium.
 5. Lentils and chickpeas are a good source of iron and potassium. 
 6. Peas, lentils, and chickpeas are all gluten-free ingredients.

My recipe this week, you guessed it, “Split Pea Soup”. For starters, you need a meaty ham bone. So the next time you buy a ham on the bone, save the bones, or freeze them and when you have enough, make this wonderful rich thick soup, that will leave you warm inside and asking for more.

Split Pea Soup

Serves 10 to 12 people

1 pound of split peas, washed and sorted
3 quarts of water
1 large ham bone
4 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of fresh oregano or dried
2 teaspoons of instant chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cups of sliced carrots
3 cups of finely chopped celery

In a deep pot, combine the peas, water, ham bone, onion, bouillon and the
Seasonings. Simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the ham bone and trim off all the meat, chop it finely and return the meat to the pot. Stir in the carrots and celery and simmer the soup, uncovered, for about 2 1/2 hours or until the soup is thick.

Serve with hot crusty bread and a crisp green salad.

Till Next Time……

Copyright © 2013 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Soup, stew & chilli are wonderful comfort foods when the weather turns cool & crisp. When I lived in N.Y., my sister in Ohio used to save me a ham bone 2 take back w/me to make my 'curried' pea soup. Traditional pea soup in a pot & a quick curry in a sautee pan (onions, garlic, tomatoes, curry powder & toasted cumin seeds). combine the 2 & simmer for about 45 minutes - East meets West! p.s - almost 4got the grated ginger root in the curry...

  2. Thank you so much Chef Jeff! I love your renditions of pea soup. I will definitely try this especially with the grated ginger root in the curry. It gives it more flavor and a kick. I am glad that I was able to take you back home with happy memories of your family. Coming from you, means a lot! Thanks for stopping by and please come back anytime! Have a wonderful weekend. Dottie :)

  3. Hi Dottie ,
    I always enjoy your posts , they are so warm and inviting and your recipes are just delicious . my family loves split pea soup .I shall make this soup soon . Have a wonderful and blessed weekend . Thanks for sharing:)

  4. Dear Nee, Thank you for your very thoughtful words. I enjoy writing and recipes, so what better way to express that by posting on a blog. So thrilled that your family enjoys a warm, hearty soup like Split Pea Soup! It really is so delicious, and it hits the spot on a cold day or night. Blessings on a wonderful long weekend! Dottie :)

  5. Split Pea Soup was a regular at our house too, Dottie. I did realize it was National Pea Soup Week but I thought I missed it. But nooooo, you have made my week by posting such a delightful remembrance of pea soup days of yore and of course with your pea soup recipe. I don't make pea soup as often as I should. (the clean-up usually talks me out of it:) I do have a ham bone in the freezer though and since you now have me craving peas soup, I may just need to not be so lazy and simmer up a pot, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie. It's always so nice to stop here and visit. That picture of you and your brother reminds me of one I have with me and my sister, lol...Ah, those were the days:)

  6. Sorry, Louise for not getting back to you sooner. It has been a busy weekend. I am so glad that you enjoyed this weeks posting, and I was able to make your week! It really is so good, and it definitely is a perfect meal for a cold Fall day. Your words are so kind, and I am so glad that you enjoy stopping by. I guess a lot of us have photos like that one of my brother Chris and myself. It is my favorite photo of he and I. Yes, you are correct, dear Louise, those were the days!
    Enjoy...Blessings..Dottie :)

  7. This soup is delicious Dottie! Just what we need in November! It is cold here in the UK too and summer seems so far away already!

  8. Dear Alida,

    I know it is getting colder here as well, we had snow flurries this morning, and it started sticking just on the grass. So this soup is perfect to warm your bones on a cold day. The days just are flying by! Thank you for stopping by, enjoy the soup...Blessings on a great week...Dottie :)