Feb 28, 2008

Cheap Food: Split Pea Soup

I loooove Split Pea Soup. It is one of my favorite things. I also love making soup, and had never made this one before, so, this was an experiment. Of all soups, this is especially cheap. This soup makes a TON and all the big flavor comes from cheap stuff - split peas and the ham hock. I have enough of this leftover for a dinner for two plus leftovers for the next couple of days lunch, plus enough to freeze for several more lunches (by several I mean, like 10). I just put it in single serve tupperware and freeze, then I just grab one in the morning when I leave for work. I tallied it up and this soup cost a total of about 14 bucks for like10 to12 meals ($6 of that is the veg stock alone - which if you wanted to go way cheap you could make your own stock or broth pretty easy). You can't really beat that - and it tastes a thousand times better than that nasty stuff in the can with a lot less fat and sodium.


1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 ham hock

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (I think next time I will use butter)

One handful chopped fresh Italian parsley

Fresh ground black pepper


Red pepper flakes (a few pinches)

Hot pepper sauce (I used Cholula)

1 bag split peas – rinsed and soaked overnight (you can soak ahead of time, drain and freeze to use at a later time. Nice.)

6 cups vegetable broth (99% fat free, super low sodium, and if you leave out the ham hock this is totally vegetarian)

First heat the oil in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add onions, celery, carrot, garlic, parsley and ham hock. Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Saute on medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes – until you can really smell the ham and see the fat from the ham hock breaking down.

Now, add the split peas and vegetable broth. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Let boil for a few minutes then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for about two hours.

After about an hour, give a good stir and taste. Season as necessary – at this point, I added a BUNCH more ground black pepper, some garlic salt, and the Cholula. At this point, I also remove the ham hock as it seemed the flavor was getting a little overwhelming. Cover the pot again and allow it to continue to simmer for another thirty minutes, then uncover and let some of the liquid evaporate off so the soup will thicken for the last 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the fat and meat of the bone of the ham hock. Discard the bone and fat and dice up the meat into bite size pieces. Once the soup is done simmering, blend with an immersion blender until nice and smooth (you could poor it into a regular blender also – might take a couple of batches). Just sprinkle some ham in each bowl when you serve.

Goes awesome with a grilled ham and cheese sandwich :)

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